| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Belarus President Lukashenko heading to China second time this year

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was scheduled to go to Beijing on Sunday for discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Belarusian state media, marking the close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s second trip to China this year.

Lukashenko, who was greeted with a gun salute and military honours during his official visit from February 28 to March 2, was heading for “a working visit,” according to the BelTA state news agency.

“Negotiations between the head of the Belarusian state and president of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping will take place in Beijing,” BelTA said, citing Lukashenko’s press service.

“The agenda includes issues of trade, economic, investment and international cooperation.”

After their first talks this year, Xi said that the China-Belarus “friendship is unbreakable, and the two sides should constantly enhance political mutual trust and remain each other’s true friends and good partners.”

Lukashenko, the president of Belarus since 1994 who has been shunned by the West, backed Russia’s invasion in Ukraine in February 2022 by allowing Moscow to use its territory to launch the war.

China maintains close ties to Russia and has never condemned its invasion of Ukraine, but Beijing became vocal earlier this year in calling for peace as the Ukraine conflict drags on.

After their March 1 meeting, both Lukashenko and Xi called for the “soonest possible” peace deal for Ukraine. But the war, now in its 22nd month, has no end in sight, with neither side willing to compromise to negotiate.

  • Reuters