Session to discuss cooperation with China

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It is essential to develop inter-regional ties between Belarus and China, President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the session held on 17 April to discuss cooperation with the People’s Republic of China.

“If we fail to enable direct cooperation between a region and a region, we will not be able to secure the goals we aim to reach in cooperation with the People’s Republic of China,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that an interregional forum will be held during the visit of the China president to Belarus. Representatives of eight Chinese provinces that account for over 50% of China’s GDP will be present during the forum.

“The oblast governors have to secure direct contacts and contracts with these regions. You will have to directly take care of foreign trade operations with these regions,” the President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that so far full-value cooperation with individual provinces had not been achieved although it is a direct responsibility of the regional authorities of Belarus. The President said he would like the officials, who are responsible for cooperation with China, to provide information about the steps they are taking to use the potential of cooperation with China as much as possible.

“This year we’ve been granted a real opportunity to advance our strategic partnership and naturally due to the three-day visit of the head of the People’s Republic of China, I would even say an unprecedented visit,” the head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that relations with China are a priority in Belarus’ multiple-vector foreign policy. Today bilateral cooperation has become very dynamic and has reached the level of all-round strategic partnership. “Time has proven that Belarus is the most stable, reliable, and acceptable partner for China in the European region. Today it is confirmed by the start of the implementation of the large-scale project Economic Belt of the Silk Road initiated by China President Xi Jinping. His forthcoming state visit to Belarus will give a powerful impulse to further expansion of our interaction,” said the Belarusian head of state. He pointed out that Belarus has already accumulated rich experience of bilateral cooperation with China in politics and international relations, trade, economic, credit and investment cooperation.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that over 20 investment projects are being implemented in spheres like energy industry, civil engineering, and transport infrastructure. “Those are billions of U.S. dollars that China has granted to us as loans,” the Belarusian head of state noted.

“Unfortunately, problems that need to be addressed have been revealed in the course of the implementation of the projects. I have to admit that not our partners but we are often the source of the problems. We have to do better than that,” stated the President. He went on saying that failures will be punished.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that he had recently instructed to set up a special group to revise the avenues of cooperation with China, the specific projects being implemented, the contracts worth billions of U.S. dollars on building infrastructure, homes, energy installations, and manufacturing installations. “Today we are going to use the data to try to clarify the level of our cooperation on the basis of concrete facts,” the President said.

“But we have to be realistic about it. So far the joint projects are no example of mutually beneficial relations. The state of affairs has to be fixed,” the President said.