Xi Jinping's visit to Belarus: new era in Belarusian-Chinese strategic partnership

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Xi Jinping's visit to Belarus: new era in Belarusian-Chinese strategic partnership

On May 10, one of the most influential people in the world (as it is often called in the American media) - Chinese President Xi Jinping - paid a state visit to Belarus.

In Minsk, the Palace of Independence hosted official talks between Alexander Lukashenko and Xi Jinping.

Alexander Lukashenko and Xi Jinping acutally met on May 10 for the second time. After the welcoming ceremony at the airport, there was another ceremony held in accordance with all canons - a meeting between the two leaders in the Palace of Independence.

A few interesting details. The ceremony itself was perfected to the smallest detail. What catches the eye is that Alexander Lukashenko and Xi Jinping wore ties of almost one tone - the color of heaven. According to international diplomacy, it speaks of tranquility and restraint.

It is clear that the two leaders did not agree specifically on this detail, but in doing so they demonstrate that today, there is no reason for emotions. There are all prerequisites for a peaceful, balanced and trustful dialogue.

Xi Jinping is the sixth head of China and the first after the proclamation of the country. Many newspapers in the world position this politician as one of the most influential.

To quote the famous New Yorker, "Xi Jinping is a person who has made a career from a regional manager to one of the most influential politicians in the world and a strong leader of China from the time of Mao Zedong. Xi Jinping today is surely a courageous and confident politician of the new format."

In contrast to the Chinese leaders 20 years ago, who declared the principle "hide your power and wait for your time" Xi Jinping acts quite differently. He said repeatedly and publicly that "China is here and now." This is a modern Chinese state ideology."

Xi Jinping confirms this metaphor with his actions. Today, China is creating competitors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The construction of the Silk Road is one of the most large-scale projects of the Chinese People's Republic.

Another very interesting detail is a statement of Xi Jinping that China and the United States need to communicate on an equal footing and demonstrate to the world a new type of relations between the "two great powers." By the way, the Obama administration still refuses to use the specific wording - "the two great powers."

Xi Jinping is an incredibly popular politician and the leader at home. Over 80% of Chinese people support it. And it is thanks to a powerful anti-corruption campaign and a strong foreign policy.

In the ranking of the most influential politicians in the world, Xi is traditionally on the top. In the 2012 Forbes ranking Xi Jinping was ninth: "This is someone who is incredibly open and enjoys to deviate from the protocol." In Belarus, he also repeatedly demonstrated that.

Entering the Palace of Independence, Alexander Lukashenko and Xi Jinping were having a very lively and friendly conversation. We can assume that Xi Jinping asked the Belarus head of state about the design of the Palace of Independence, which lobby featured our pride - Slutsk belts and a bas-relief with the sights of Belarus.

Next, the two leaders went to the hall of negotiations. And not alone. These were members of the Belarusian government and heads of Chinese regions. By the way, Xi Jinping brought in Minsk a lot of Chinese businessmen.

At the negotiations, Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarus and China need to increase the trade turnover (and there are all preconditions for this). It is necessary to switch to investment cooperation apart from the credit one.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
We have that experience. I will mention only two of the largest joint projects: the production of passenger cars with the Chinese company Geely and the construction of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial park "Great Stone". Belarus supports the concepts put forward by you: the Economic Belt of Silk Road and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. I am sure that Belarus will become a hub platform in the implementation of these large-scale projects in the Eurasian region and thus further bring together our peoples and our state. The opening of direct flights between Minsk and Beijing will facilitate these contacts.
During the visit, you will be able to make sure that all our agreements are strictly and clearly enforced.
I would especially like to emphasize, dear Comrade President, that we have no problems in the relations. And, in general, the people of Belarus and our country boast a great relationship with the Chinese people. When we are criticized in the West for some of our positions, and in some places we hear about isolation, I always give the example of our cooperation with China and say that no state of isolation is possible if a state has good friendly relations with the People's Republic of China.
We were looking forward to your visit to Belarus. We very seriously prepared this visit with your co-workers. I think you will see it yourself. Therefore, I once again welcome you on behalf of the Belarusian people on our good, and as you said at the airport, beautiful land. You can count on this land and the people who live on it.

Five years ago, Mr Xi Jinping visited Minsk, albeit in a different capacity - as the second person in the state.  The word beautiful sounded as many as three times during a small speech.

Speaking about the Belarusian-Chinese cooperation, Xi Jinping assured that here and now, there begins a new era of cooperation.

Xi Jinping, the chairman of the Chinese People's Republic:
We saw a very beautiful country, beautiful capital, a lot of green trees and in general a very clean city. Indeed, I immediately felt a deep sense of the Belarusian people for the Chinese people. You are very important founders of Chinese-Belarusian friendship and you actively promote this cause. I really appreciate close business ties established between us and personal and deep friendship.
In recent years, under your leadership, the country has continued to maintain political stability; the economy is developing steadily. The well-being of the country is continuously improving. We achieved impressive successes in state-building. You actively mediate in the Ukrainian crisis and you created the Minsk platform of negotiations. And as a result of your efforts, the sides finally reached Minsk two cease-fire agreements that won universal high praise from the international community. The facts shows that under your leadership, the people of Belarus stepped on the path of development that meets their own actual conditions. I am confident that, going up this path, Belarus wo;; necessarily reach even more brilliant successes in nation-building and development.

As it should be in such cases, the heads of state first communicated in the presence of their delegations and then spoke in private. Of course, they were talking about the economy and touched upon the pressing issues of the international agenda. Speaking about the situation in the world, Alexander Lukashenko noted that today, it is unfortunately far from the so-called "Shanghai Spirit" declared by China. This phrase is a kind of philosophy, ideology and the Chinese world outlook.

A short phrase "Shanghai spirit" in Chinese is as many as 20 hieroglyphs that reflect and represent equality, mutual respect, and trust. Unfortunately, there is very little "Shanghai Spirit" in many parts of the world. The examples of this is the Ukraine crisis and the situation in the Middle East.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, today, states with a similar position (and Belarus and China, of course, share common positions) should be as united as never before in order to confront negative global trends.

Alexander Lukashenko:
In today's world, unfortunately, serious contradictions are emerging. We've just exchanged views on this matter and concluded that the world situation is difficult and tense. And the further development of our land will depend on how we act in the world.
Unfortunately, tension points are being created. You can see that war is raging in the center of Europe. There is a tense situation in regions such as the Middle East, Central, Central Asia, with the activities of the Islamic state leading to another surge of international terrorism. It is obvious that today there is a decrease in the effectiveness of the international security system, the instruments of the United Nations are quite weak. We believe that a fundamental reform of the United Nations is indispensable. And here, of course, China plays an important role.
But now the most important thing. States with similar positions, such as Belarus - China and Russia - China should unite as never before to counter the negative trends of the world.
We never have refused to cooperate in the military and industrial field (military industrial complex) and through special services. In order to ensure security of our states and the region we are living in. The existing relations between us allow us, Mr. Chairman, to discuss the most sensitive issues, our relations and the situation in the regions.

The heads of state and members of the Belarusian and Chinese delegations moved to the signing of a very important document that will form the basis for our future relations. This is a whole package of documents of a completely different format. In particular, the sides signed a package of loan agreements, the largest of which is an agreement on a $700 million loan between the Bank of Development and the State Bank of China.

The head of the Belarusian Bank for Development said that this is "long-term money on very favorable terms." Preferential interest rates for a sufficiently long period.

According to the agreement, the Belarusian Railways will be assisted in electrifying a large section of ​​the Belarusian railway. A Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine will open in Belarus. The Academy of the Silk Road has already been created. Belarusian students will be able to rely on government scholarships from China. Chinese will be taught in Belarus more intensely.

But, of course, the most important documents is the treaty of friendship and cooperation and the joint declaration between Belarus and China aiming to deepen relations.

These documents were signed in the presence of the two presidents. The emphasis here is of course on the economy. Cooperation within the same Silk Road is spelled out in the documents. Belarus has the role of the most important link in terms of logistics and information.

The Belarusian-Chinese Industrial Park is an example and a model of cooperation between the two countries.

Some part of the meeting in the enlarged format was held behind closed doors so journalists were waiting for the final press conference of the two leaders. 

Alexander Lukashenko:
I am sure that the holding in Minsk of an interregional business forum as part of the visit of the Chairman, the signing of new agreements on friendship and cooperation between the provinces of Belarus and China will give a new impetus to the development of professional, economic and trade, public relations and interpersonal contacts.
Dear Mr. Chairman, the walls of the new Palace of Independence have seen many things, but this is a truly unprecedented signing of intergovernmental agreements. We are not building our relationships and our friendship against someone. Neither are we willing to harm anyone. The evidence of this is the concept of the Silk Road, which gives a rapid breakthrough for the development of all states that will be involved in this (growth of their economies). And hence, the lives of people in these countries.
Dear Comrade President, you are visiting our country on the eve of the presidential election. We very much appreciate it. And I want to assure you that our presidential elections will be held in the way that you will never be ashamed of cooperation with Belarus.

Xi Jinping:
As a result of the fruitful negotiations with President Lukashenko I can conclude that we have completely met the expected outcome of the visit. I know that Mr. President personally attaches great importance to the construction of this park. You support it in a great way. We need to create a number of demonstration projects in order to give a positive stimulus to economic development of the entire Eurasian region. We should vigorously strengthen cooperation in financing projects in order to give a strong impetus to the socio-economic development in Belarus.


Belarusian and Chinese officials signing cooperation documents

Chinese journalists noticed other interesting details.

Chen Junfeng, Xinhua reporter:
We appreciate that stability is a very important quality of the state with which we can cooperate in the future. Recently, our chairman has said that we will build the economic belt Silk Road and your country is very positive and very good location. At this point, we can build a very good platform for further co-operation between Europe and the CIS.

Lin Xuedan, People's Daily reporter:
Belarus is a very important place. It is like a hub connecting the East and the West. We believe that it is of strategic importance, cooperation with your people.

At the end, Xi Jinping planted a tree near the alley. This is the alley of honored guests of the Palace of Independence.