Putin ally Lukashenko and Chinese leader Xi Jinping vow to deepen defense ties | CNN



Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko — a close ally of Vladimir Putin — vowed to deepen defense and security ties and expressed their shared positions on the war in Ukraine at a rally in Beijing on Wednesday amid geopolitical tensions continued to rise around the Russian war.

Lukashenko endorsed China’s recent stance on a “political solution” to the conflict, according to a reading of the meeting by China’s foreign ministry, citing a statement released last week by Beijing calling for peace talks to end the conflict , but did not push for a Russian withdrawal from Ukraine – skepticism from Western leaders.

Both Xi and Lukashenko expressed “deep concern about the ongoing armed conflict” and looked forward to an “early return to peace in Ukraine,” according to a joint statement following their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, where Xi greeted Lukashenko in a ceremony next to a phalanx of Chinese troops.

The visit by the Belarusian leader – who allowed Russian troops to use Belarus to stage their first foray into Ukraine last year – comes as tensions between the US and China have risen in recent weeks, including concerns from Washington that Beijing is considering sending deadly aid. to the Kremlin’s struggling war effort.

Beijing has denied those claims and instead tried to portray itself as an impartial agent of peace — unlike the United States, which accused it of “throwing fuel on the fire” in the conflict and harming the global economy with sanctions against Russia.

Speaking about the war at Wednesday’s rally, Xi called on “relevant countries” to “stop politicizing and instrumentalizing the global economy” and act in a way to “peacefully resolve the crisis,” in a clear reference to the US and its allies.

The joint statement underlined the alignment between Minsk and Beijing when it comes to their opposition to what they see as a Western-led world order, with their joint statement including opposition to “all forms of hegemonism and power politics, including the imposition of illegal unilateral sanctions and restrictive measures against other countries.”

China and Belarus, which was also targeted by heavy Western sanctions after Russia’s invasion, would also strengthen their cooperation in a number of economic areas, the statement said.

They also pledged to “deepen cooperation” on military personnel training, counter-terrorism and “jointly prevent ‘color revolution'” – a reference to popular pro-democracy movements that autocrats claim are supported by Western governments.

The meeting, described by Chinese state media as “warm and friendly”, was the first meeting between the leaders since they broke ties with an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)- top improved. last September in Uzbekistan, where Putin was also present.

“Today, we will jointly set out new visions for the development of bilateral ties… Our long-term friendly exchanges will keep our friendship unbreakable,” Xi told Lukashenko at the meeting, according to Chinese state media. He also supported Belarus becoming a full member of the China-Russian-led SCO, where it is currently an observer state.

Speaking the same day from Uzbekistan, which is also a member of the SCO, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China “cannot go both ways” by “publicly setting itself up as a force for peace”, while it continues with “feel the flames of this fire that Vladimir Putin has kindled.”

Blinken said there are “some positive elements” in China’s peace proposal, but accused China of doing the opposite by supporting peace in Ukraine “in terms of its efforts to dispel Russian propaganda and misinformation about blocking and cracking down on the promote war for Russia.”

He also reiterated Western concerns that China is considering providing deadly aid to Russia and later said he had no plans to meet with Russian or Chinese counterparts at a G20 meeting for foreign ministers to be held in New Delhi, India, on March 2. will take place.

The tightening of ties between Minsk and Beijing has been accompanied by years of deterioration in relations between Belarus and the West.

The former Soviet state became the target of sweeping sanctions from the US and its allies in response to Moscow’s aggression after Lukashenko allowed Russian troops to invade Ukraine through the 1,000-kilometer Ukrainian-Belarusian border north of Kiev.

Nor does the European Union recognize the results of Lukashenko’s 2020 election victory, which sparked massive pro-democracy protests in the country and was followed by brutal government crackdowns. The US also called the election “fraudulent.”

Throughout the conflict in Ukraine, there have been fears that Belarus will once again be used as a launching pad for a new Russian offensive, or that Lukashenko’s own forces will join the war. Before visiting Moscow earlier this month, Lukashenko claimed his country “there is no way” to send troops to Ukraine unless it comes under attack.

Like China, Belarus has previously suggested that the US does not want to see an end to the conflict.

In comments to reporters earlier this month before leaving for Moscow to meet Putin, Lukashenko insisted he wanted to see “peaceful negotiations” and accused the United States of trying to prevent Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from negotiating.

“The US is the only one that needs this slaughter, only they want it,” he said.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here