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Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko to visit China

February 25, 2023

Lukashenko will visit China from February 28 to March 2. China says it wants to work with Belarus to deepen mutual trust.

Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko
Lukashenko is a close ally of PutinImage: BelTA/TASS/picture alliance

Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko will visit China, the Chinese foreign ministry said Saturday. 

"At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will pay a state visit to China from February 28 to March 2," spokesperson Hua Chunying said. 

During a phone conversation, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik that China is willing to work with Belarus to deepen mutual political trust.

He also said China will also continue to support Belarus in maintaining its national stability, and will oppose attempts by "external forces" to interfere in its internal affairs or impose "illegal" unilateral sanctions on Minsk.

Belarus, which shares a border with Russia, enjoys close ties with Moscow and had allowed the use of their territory for the attack on Ukraine last year.

Lukashenko is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin though his reelection in 2020 was marred by electoral inconsistencies which lead to mass protests against his reign.

Those protests were followed by an intense crackdown that saw tens of thousands arrested with many subjected to rights abuses and countless more driven to exile, including the woman many say would have won the 2020 presidential elections if the vote had beeen counted fairly, Svitlana Tsiikhanouskaya.

Her husband was a presidential candidate until he was jailed and she filled in for his candidacy. She now resides in Vilnius while he remains in prison with more than 1,000 other political prisoners by the count of rights groups and the US embassy in Minsk. 

Recent reports had suggested that Russia is planning to absorb Belarus by 2030.

Xi and Lukashenko last met in Uzbekistan in September 2022, where they announced an "all-weather" strategic partnership.

Russia, Belarus further strengthen military ties

tg/ar (AFP, Reuters)