Advanced political relations of Belarus and China should give a boost to the economy of the two countries, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Dejiang on 18 April.
The head of state remarked that in the year of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations the countries have reached a high intensity of mutual visits. For example, last week Alexander Lukashenko met with public figures and statesmen of China, including the minister of social security, the procurator-general, the Communist Party secretary of HunanProvince. “Active contacts once again emphasize a special level of relations between our countries – trustworthy all-round strategic partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation,” he said.
Belarus would also like to continue high level meetings within the framework of multilateral formats. “Please convey my gratitude to my good friend Xi Jinping for the invitation to attend the international forum One Belt, One Road. I am convinced that it will become a landmark event for China and for the whole planet,” the head of state said.
Zhang Dejiang has already had several official meetings in Belarus. All of them were substantial and productive. “I think you have noticed that the priority attention during the talks is drawn to the economic and political interaction. It is clear why. We hope that the high level of our political relations will help promote the economy, first of all, Belarus’ economy, to the level of China,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President suggested discussing a number of issues regarding the development of cooperation in investment, trade, and finance. One of the main issues on the agenda was the further development of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park Great Stone. The number one task is the attraction of investments. “We are developing powerful infrastructure and offer strong preferences. It is important for the arrival of high technologies and the development of export-oriented manufacturing facilities with guaranteed markets,” the Belarusian leader said.
According to the head of state, during a visit to the GreatStoneIndustrial Park, Chinese President Xi Jinping named it a pearl of the Silk Road. “We cannot develop companies and economy of the past there. We need the most advanced and world class companies with tomorrow's economy. Otherwise, they will not be able to compete on the European market and the post-Soviet market as well. We discussed it before. We, together with Mr Xi Jinping, still believe this policy to be the right one,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President also said that Belarus is concerned over the imbalance in the bilateral trade with China. “I would like to ask you to pay serious attention to this issue within the framework of the Belarusian-Chinese intergovernmental committee for cooperation, and at the level of the heads of government of the two countries, MPs,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state deems it necessary to step up cooperation in finance. “Belarus is interested in the involvement of Chinese companies in the banking sector. There are preliminary agreements on China CITIC Bank’s branching out into the Belarusian market. Now we need permission from the authorized agencies of China,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The parties also discussed a number of other projects of paramount importance for Belarus. “These will be image-boosting projects for the People’s Republic of China in the center of Europe. If you decide to support us, the Belarusian people will never forget this and will be very grateful to you,” the President said.
It was noted that there are
good prospects for cooperation in other fields, for example, in tourism. “You
have seen that Belarus
is a beautiful country,” the head of state said. “It has many landmarks and
good places for recreation. We hope that the citizens of great China visiting
our beautiful country will have a good rest here.”
Zhang Dejiang, in turn, thanked Alexander Lukashenko for the warm welcome and praised the hospitality and friendliness of Belarusians. “China and Belarus always provide each other with assistance and enjoy mutual trust. Our cooperation has been rapidly developing in all areas. We are satisfied with the development of our bilateral relations,” he said. “Our cooperation has acquired all the characteristics of mature interstate relations: a strong political framework, integrated economic interests, active and dynamic humanitarian ties, close cooperation in the international arena.”
Zhang Dejiang said for his part that he fully shares Alexander Lukashenko’s stance on the Great Stone project. “The park has all necessary conditions to attract investments, and we need to work for it. We need to popularize our industrial park in order to attract high-tech companies,” he said.
The parties also noted that the development of a joint industrial park in Belarus became a political project. This is only the first step towards more large-scale projects in the future.
After the talks which took place in an open and sincere atmosphere Alexander Lukashenko and Zhang Dejiang stressed that there are good prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation. It means that the countries should do their best to achieve their goals.
After the meeting the Chinese guest visited the personal exhibition of artist Valery Shkarubo at the Palace of Independence. Zhang Dejiang admired the exhibition and praised a high lyrical and philosophical value of Valery Shkarubo’s works.