04 Dec 2023, 11:36
Update : 04 Dec 2023, 13:31

Belarus, China hail deepening ties in Beijing talks

BEIJING, Dec 4, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping and Alexander 
Lukashenko hailed strengthening ties on Monday, as they held talks during the 
Belarusian leader's second trip to Beijing this year.

Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Russia, arrived in China on Sunday for a visit 
expected to last at least two days.

Lukashenko last came to China in February, a trip that drew scrutiny given 
Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"Belarus is, was and will be a reliable partner for China," Lukashenko told 
Xi on Monday, according to a readout of the talks from the office of the 
Belarusian presidency.

"We decided long ago that we would cooperate... and be friends with China," 
he said.

"This friendship is more than 30 years old and has never turned away from 
this path."

Xi, in turn, said "political mutual trust" and "international collaboration" 
between the two countries had grown stronger since Lukashenko's last visit, 
according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

China "firmly supports Belarus in taking the path of development in line with 
its national conditions, and opposes interference by external forces in the 
internal affairs of Belarus", Xi said.

"The Chinese side is willing to continue to strengthen strategic cooperation 
with the Belarusian side, firmly support each other, (and) promote pragmatic 
cooperation," Xi added.

Beijing has not publicly condemned Russia's offensive despite pressure from 
the United States and other Western nations.

Belarus relies heavily on Russia for political and financial support, and was 
used as a launchpad for Moscow's assault against Ukraine in February 2022.