Aleksandr Lukashenko gives interview to Xinhua News Agency

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President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko gave an interview to the Xinhua News Agency on 15 July prior to his visit to the People's Republic of China.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus and China are eager to build up relations in all avenues.

“The relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Belarus has turned into strategic partnership, strategic cooperation. And the main thing is that we are eager to build up these relations, expand the volume of these relations which run the gamut from trade to humanitarian cooperation,” the head of state remarked. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that this is the main goal of his visit to the People's Republic of China.

“Apart from that, it is high time Xi Jinping and I discussed the problems which can be caused by what is going on in the world. We need to mull over the future cooperation strategy, address a number of tactical issues which, of course, will affect the strategy of relations between Belarus and the People's Republic of China,” the President of Belarus said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that both Belarus and China can be satisfied with bilateral relations. “By this I do not want to say that we have no problems in the relations whatsoever. All the issues are resolved successfully. For this, we maintain contacts at different levels between the states," the Belarusian head of state said.

The Belarusian President pointed out that the level of relations between Belarus and China is very high. “In the Belarusian-Chinese relations there are no closed topics. We cooperate on the basis of mutual understanding and deep friendship, I would even say, affection of our countries and our peoples to each other,” he remarked.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the sides do not have problems in economy and politics. “We once dreamed to reach a trade of $500 million between the two states. Today our trade is close to $3 billion. This is huge progress,” the Belarusian head of state said.

Belarus always backs the initiatives of the People's Republic of China in international organizations, according to Aleksandr Lukashenko. "The People's Republic of China supports us in the same way. There has never been a problem or an issue when China, Greater China, had not supported us, for example, the notorious human rights issue they accused both Belarus and the People's Republic of China. However, today they all fall silence when the facts about the West’s record on human rights have been made public. But there were times when there were campaigns against Belarus and China. Then we were together,” the Belarus President said.

The Belarusian head of state remarked that the countries closely cooperate in outer space, military and humanitarian areas.

“We do not have any big problems in these areas. It says that the relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Belarus have turned into strategic partnership, strategic cooperation,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus would like to deepen cooperation with China in the high-tech sector.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, we have inherited the economy from the Soviet Union as well as science and the rest. Unfortunately, because we cannot find demand for all of it in Belarus. Fortunately, because the legacy includes high-tech manufacturing, technologies, research and development and so on. To prevent these development areas from plummeting, Belarus has to cooperate with powerful nations that need new technologies, new R&D products, the merchandise that we make,” the Belarusian head of state said.

He noted that Belarus is an export-oriented country. “Therefore, fortunately, we have found such countries as Russia, the Greater China, we maintain very good relations with India, which need all of that. And we will work in this area, expanding and fostering cooperation with the People’s Republic of China,” the Belarusian President said. “Everything should be based on high technologies. We should think about the future,” Aleksandr Lukashenko believes.

According to the President, Belarus and China have a huge potential for developing relations. “There are a lot of avenues in our cooperation: economy, loans, investments… At present China is implementing 20 projects to the tune of about $5.5 billion in Belarus. The investments are huge. They may be compared with those of only the Russian Federation perhaps,“ Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Therefore, there are a lot of application points and we will definitely develop them,” he added.

During the interview the President was also asked about the Belarusian-Chinese High-Tech Park.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that Belarus has high hopes on this Chinese-Belarusian project. "Of course, the People's Republic of China will play a leading role here. These are the investment of the world’s major companies which are now working in China. These are the loans of the People's Republic of China. China has sufficient foreign exchange reserves and they must be, of course, invested somewhere. And I think this is the recognition of the reliability of Belarus in the eyes of the Chinese leadership, Chinese specialists and the Chinese people. You would not invest your money in an unstable country. We therefore highly value this project,” the Belarusian President said.

“Once the project is up and running, the country will earn an additional $50 billion on export per year. This will increase our financial stability. This is the most sensitive issue at the moment for our country. The project will lift the problem,” the Belarusian head of state noted.

"Most importantly, we are not creating "a park of screwdrivers”, figuratively speaking. The park will manufacture high-tech products of tomorrow: from development to the manufacture of a particular product, which will go on the market," the President said.

“First, our economy does not need assembly plants. We have no vacancies, no spare hands we need to engage urgently. The People's Republic of China had this problem once, and hence you created free trade zones. We need a high-tech product. Because we have a high-tech workforce," he said.

“Second, if we do not make the products of tomorrow, we will not be able to sell them here. No one will buy them. Therefore, the park aims to attract global companies with high-tech products, the products of tomorrow's economic paradigm. We want the high-tech goods that could be marketed, that could sell well and be competitive. This is the main objective. This is something we are focused on,” the Belarusian head of state emphasized.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, all organizational issues have been resolved, and now the sides are launching the construction of concrete plants, factories, enterprises, scientific and technological design centers to develop and manufacture high-tech products.

“If the People's Republic of China positions itself as an empire in the good sense of this word, as the leading state, it will not be able to evolve without Europe, without this center. I believe that the People's Republic of China has chosen Belarus. This speaks volumes. And we are proud of it. Belarus is situated in the center of Europe. We have excellent logistics to high-tech and solvent markets,” the President said.

In his words, Belarus has learned a lot from China and, in turn, is ready to offer a lot to China. “We have borrowed a lot from the People’s Republic of China, developing market relations in our country taking into account Belarus’ peculiarities,” the President said. “We have learned how to develop free economic zones from you and the rest. In this regard we are ready to advance our relations. But high technologies are the key if we talk about economy,” he added.

“China is a country that makes large-scale headway, develops its economy very intensively. We are on the brink of the re-formatting of all the relations and the redesign of the entire international climate on our planet. And the People’s Republic of China is to blame for it. It is the world’s leading power and today, you know, if you need to ‘measure the temperature of the world’, you have to do it in Beijing, not Washington, Brussels or other countries,” the Belarusian head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that Belarus prides itself on relations with China. He pointed out that the relations did not emerge yesterday. “We have very long-term relations. We were together with you 20 years ago, too. I remember my first visits to the People’s Republic of China (it feels not so long ago) when China and the leadership of China dreamt of making the country a world leader. All of it happened in front of me. Back then our relations emerged. Back then we started cooperating with China. I have always said that future belongs to China. But I could not imagine that it will happen over the course of only 15-20 years,” the Belarusian President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus has long been interested in China’s experience and has used it to develop the state.

The President emphasized that there are many people in the Belarusian government who know China very well. “I have been to China six times, let alone our specialists who have been to China on numerous occasions. We learn from each other, exchange the experience, and it is natural that these processes involve a big group of people who are involved in the governance of the country today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“We have adopted a policy to engage more young specialists in the government. By the way, we can also adopt the experience of the People's Republic of China here. You have been pursuing this policy for three five-year terms already, involving more young personnel, especially in the middle and low level of public government. This also corresponds with those approaches that we are pursuing in the governance of our state,” the President noted.