Peace in Ukraine is of ‘extreme interest’ to China and Belarus
A peaceful resolution in Ukraine is of “extreme interest” to the leaders of China and Belarus.
Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made the statement after talks in Beijing.
A Beijing plan for ending the war in Ukraine is “fully supported” by Mr. Lukashenko.
Last week, China announced peace talks, calling for respect for national sovereignty.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi met Mr. Putin just days earlier.
During Mr. Lukashenko and Mr. Xi’s meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Central Asian nations to discuss the Ukraine war.
Belarus state-run news agency Belta reported that China and Belarus “expressed deep concern” over the conflict and “extreme interest” in ensuring peace in Ukraine as soon as possible.
His trip to Beijing has been seen as another sign that China is closing ranks with Russia and its allies due to his assistance to the Russian leader in Ukraine.
China’s peace plan was praised by Belarus’ leader.
While the 12-point document does not explicitly say Russia should withdraw its troops from Ukraine, it condemns the use of unilateral sanctions, an implicit criticism of Ukraine’s Western allies.
According to his aides, Lukashenko “fully supports the initiative you have put forward on international security”.
He told Mr. Xi that political decisions should be aimed at preventing a slide into a global confrontation that would not see any winners.
There was widespread distrust in the West toward China’s peace plan.
In a statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he agreed with some parts of the letter and that it was an indication of China’s willingness to engage. Beijing has not responded to Mr. Zelensky’s request for a summit in public.
After meeting with Mr. Lukashenko, the Chinese leader called for the abolition of the “all Cold War mentality”.
As Mr. Xi noted, countries should “stop politicizing” the world economy and “do things that will promote a ceasefire, cessation of war, and peaceful resolution”.
A few months after the Ukraine war began, China upgraded its relationship with Belarus, prompting Mr. Lukashenko’s visit.
Their ties have been described as an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” by the Chinese foreign ministry, a term that has only been used for one other country – Pakistan.
According to BBC Monitoring, Belarus ranks very highly in China’s hierarchy of international relationships.
Since the very beginning of the conflict, Belarus has been a key ally of Russia. It allowed Moscow to use the Belarusian border with Ukraine to launch a failed attack on Kyiv.
By stating support for both sovereignty and national security, which are both the interests of Ukraine and Russia, China has appeared neutral.
There are multiple analyses that suggest Chinese state media has actively propagated Russian views on the war, despite Beijing’s refusal to condemn Moscow.
China strongly denied last week that it was considering supplying weapons and ammunition to Russia, as claimed by the United States.
When asked about the allegations, Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said, “We do not accept the United States’ finger-pointing and coercion.”
As well as drones and semiconductor chips, Chinese companies are accused of supplying dual-use technology to Russia.
While in Uzbekistan, Blinken noted that the war had “fostered deep concern throughout the region” and stressed the US commitment to sovereignty.
A powerful country can erase the borders of a sovereign neighbour by force, so what stops it from doing the same to others? Countries across Central Asia understand this.”
Although all five Central Asian countries have trade ties with Russia and China, they have remained neutral during the war, adhered to Western sanctions, and expressed concerns about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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