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Leader: Initiative fuels Belarus growth

By Ren Qi in Minsk, Belarus | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-11 07:35
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Belarus will strengthen ties with China, as the Belt and Road Initiative provides a new focus for global economic growth, President Alexander Lukashenko told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Lukashenko said his participation in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing on Sunday and Monday, will demonstrate how strongly Belarus values the initiative and that relations between the two countries have reached their highest level ever.

"I will meet and talk with President Xi Jinping about bilateral cooperation as well as international issues," he said, adding that when most countries propose cooperation, they raise a number of political requirements, which can become obstacles to teamwork and development.

Lukashenko said one of the important features of the initiative is that during the development process China has never imposed requirements on participant countries, which has resulted in harmonious progress.

"When there are no disagreements, we have better and smoother cooperation. China is fully aware of that fact, so I have to say the Chinese are very wise," he said.

In 2015, the Belarusian leader voiced his support for the initiative, saying his country would like to become an important pillar of the proposal in Europe.

Lukashenko said the Belt and Road Initiative carries huge international influence, and China is providing loans, investment and advanced technologies to countries that choose to participate in the "new Silk Road".

Belarus, a landlocked country, is at the center of Eastern Europe: the European Union lies to the west, while the Eurasian Economic Union is to the east, the Black Sea is to the south and the Baltic Sea lies to the north.

The country was one of the first members of the EEU, joining in May 2014. The other members are Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Lukashenko pointed out that the EUU is more than twice the size of China and can provide huge support when coordinating with the Belt and Road Initiative.

In addition, the EEU has more natural resources and trained workers than China, and many people in member countries have a deep regard for their friendship with China, he said.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and China. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership featuring Mutual Trust and Win-Win Cooperation was signed during Lukashenko's visit to Beijing in September.

Lukashenko said the strategic partnership between the two countries has reached its highest point so far, and all topics, such as military affairs, diplomacy, security and energy, can be discussed against that background.

He said the Belt and Road Initiative is not about China selling its own products, but about creating joint prosperity with participating nations across the globe.

"China is now more important to the international community than ever before - I believe no international or regional issues can be solved without China's involvement," he said.

(China Daily 05/11/2017 page1)

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