Meeting with representatives of Chinese mass media

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko met with the representatives of China’s central and regional mass media partaking in the press tour to Belarus on 4 May.

This year Belarus and China celebrate the 25thanniversary of diplomatic relations, and the meeting with Chinese journalists became an important event of 2017.

“Unfortunately, the global economy and politics have become unpredictable. However, in spite of the global challenges Belarus and China have created strong, solid, and reliable interstate ties, the relations of trustworthy all-round strategic partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Probably, no country in Europe is closer to China than Belarus.”

The head of state emphasized that Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang called the two countries iron brothers during his recent visit to Belarus. “Indeed, today we call our friendship which lasts for a quarter of a century and has its roots in deep history all-weather friendship,” the President remarked. “We have achieved important results in politics supporting each other in international organizations and in the economy.”

Belarus and China have already implemented dozens of investment projects in the energy sector and construction, are building the industrial park together. The exchange of students is increasingly vibrant in the humanitarian field, the cooperation in science and tourism is developing. “Nevertheless, I believe that the interaction between Belarus and China should be even more comprehensive and dynamic. That is why we view this year as a momentous year in bilateral relations,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“The current press tour has been organized especially ahead of One Belt, One Road summit which Belarus is set to attend. The forum will consider issues of global importance,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. The Belarusian head of state stressed that One Belt, One Road is a historical initiative which is reshaping the economic map of the world creating new points of growth.

The Belarusian head of state stressed that in the implementation of this initiative China is not going to impose its interests or launch any commercial expansion of the states. “China is coming as a friendly state, offering loans, investment, cutting-edge technologies to the countries which are going to make part of the Silk Road project,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian leader noted that representatives of the Chinese mass media had already visited the China-BelarusIndustrial Park as part of the press tour. The park should become one of the hubs of the Silk Road Economic Belt. “It is no coincidence that Xi Jinping has named it a pearl of this large-scale project. Great Stone is an example of how China is reshaping the economic map of the world. China is coming to Belarus and together we are developing a huge industrial zone to attract in future the world’s most advanced companies, first of all, from the People’s Republic of China. Calculating possible revenue from the Great Stone project, we saw that Belarus was going to earn more than $50 billion on the export of the Park’s products alone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President also said that he is going to meet with his Chinese counterpart as part of his forthcoming visit to China. “We will discuss not only the issues on the international agenda. First of all, we will focus on the matters important for our bilateral cooperation in the trade, economic, investment, financial and humanitarian areas,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President added that it is not easy to host such a large-scale summit. Leaders of many states are expected to take part in it. Chinese President Xi Jinping will be busy with the preparations for the event as well. “When you are hosting events of the kind it always takes a lot of your time and effort. The Chinese President is expected to meet with the Belarusian President as part of the summit. This speaks a lot about our relations with your President and the relations between Belarus and China in general,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko shared his vision of the prospects of Belarus-China relations. “Belarus hopes that the relations with China will be even more efficient,” the President said.

First of all, this pertains to the economy, in particular, the development of the Chinese-BelarusianIndustrial Park. “Now it is very important to make progress in economic issues,” the head of state remarked. “It is very important for us to step up efforts to attract enterprises with cutting-edge technologies of the future to the industrial park Great Stone.”

China President Xi Jinping pays much attention to this project, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. The head of state expressed hope that after the forthcoming meeting in Beijing the industrial park Great Stone will get a new impetus for development. Thus, Belarus hopes that the inflow of investors, first of all, from China, will increase.

The head of state stressed the importance of cooperation between the regions of Belarus and China. “The potential of this cooperation is untapped. After all, you can reach arrangements on many things at the level of the presidents, the governments, and ministries. But their implementation is only possible with the participation of provinces and regions. Interregional cooperation does not just contribute considerably to the implementation of the agreements between the leaders of China and Belarus. It is also the engine of our cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President cited the example of the interaction between the Belarusian and Russian regions. “I often say that if it were not for interregional cooperation with Russia, we would have never had such relations with that country,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also remarked that in terms of economic potential every province of China is comparable with a strong central European country. For example, the GDP of Guangdong Province alone is about $1.3 trillion. The head of state pointed out that Belarus is interested in bolstering ties with China’s GuangdongProvince. The sides have advanced trade and achieved considerable results in tourism and science. GuangdongProvince is also ready to set up light emitting diode companies in the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone. “Currently we are discussing the launch of direct air service between Minsk and Guangzhou. The prospects are quite promising,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

The meeting also focused on the development of contacts between HeilongjiangProvince and Vitebsk Oblast. This pertains to the penetration of the Chinese market by Belarusian manufacturers, the establishment of joint ventures.

Belarus is ready to bolster ties with other Chinese regions. “There are no forbidden topics or problems in our relations. You may rest assured that all your initiatives in Belarus will be supported. I invite you to come over and offer ideas. We will receive and support you with pleasure,” the President underlined.

“A new window of opportunities opens for the export of Belarusian products to China today,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The parties are discussing a considerable difference in the volumes of Belarusian export to the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese import to Belarus. According to the President, the Chinese side is interested in the diversification of the trade and economic relations in a way to remove the imbalance.

The head of state reminded that Belarus has already started to export meat and dairy products to the Chinese market, and they sell well thanks to their high quality.

Chinese journalists also asked about Aleksandr Lukashenko’s relations with Xi Jinping and the forthcoming visit to China.

Xi Jinping “will always be a good friend for Belarus, the Belarus President said. According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the Chinese leader and he discuss any issues in a friendly manner. “We do not conceal anything from each other. Looking in the eyes of each other, we discuss any issues concerning our relations and international cooperation in a friendly manner,” the head of state remarked. The families of the two leaders also maintain friendly relations.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed confidence that his upcoming visit to the People’s Republic of China will be of great importance for the future of the relations between the two countries. “It will be of importance to our future and to the development of our relations and trust-based all-round strategic cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian head of state will inform China President Xi Jinping about the status of the Great Stone industrial park project. The leaders will talk about different aspects of military, technical, and economic cooperation, and also about collaboration in the field of security and in the fight against terrorism.

Belarus’ participation in the One Belt, One Road summit will become another step in the development of the partnership with China. “We have achieved a very high level of trust in our interaction. The upcoming summit attests to the high level of our relations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. He added that Belarus was among the first countries to receive an invitation to attend the summit.

The Belarusian head of state pointed out that the current leadership of Belarus and China should lay the foundation for the bilateral relations of future generations. “We should give our future generations not just an impetus, but a considerable reserve for further movement along the path of cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko was attended by 40 journalists from the biggest mass media outlets of China, including the Chinese news agency Xinhua, newspapers People's Daily and China Daily, China Central Television, other printed, electronic, and television media resources.