State visit of China President Xi Jinping to Belarus

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President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the Republic of Belarus on 10-12 May. President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko welcomed his Chinese counterpart at the National Airport Minsk on 10 May.

After the official welcoming ceremony at the Palace of Independence Aleksandr Lukashenko and Xi Jinping held narrow-format and extended talks, singed a number of documents.

The Belarusian head of state stressed that the development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Belarus and China is based on the principles of mutual respect, support and multifaceted cooperation. In his view, high-level contacts and sincerity of intentions shape the long-term policy of the joint development of the two countries. "We have only one goal which is to improve the well-being of our people. We do not build our relations and our friendship against anyone or with an aim to harm anyone. Evidence of this is the Silk Road concept which will give a strong impetus to the development of all states involved, to their economies and consequently the well-being of people in those states,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President of Belarus noted that today Belarus and China celebrate together the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory over fascism and militarism. "This is not the first anniversary date. But this is the first time we celebrate it together on such a large scale," the Belarusian leader said. He noted that in the history there were shining examples of military brotherhood between representatives of Belarus and China in defending the homeland against aggressors. According to the Belarusian head of state, this is another factor that unites our countries.

"The whole world knows about the heroism of the Soviet people and the enormous losses that it suffered to achieve the Victory: 30 million lives. But I want everybody to know that during World War Two the Chinese people lost 35 million of their compatriots. During the whole period of the Second World War the Chinese people held off substantial forces of the Japanese militarists in the east of the country, preventing the worst possible scenario when we would have to fight on two fronts. So this is our joint Victory, and this year we celebrate it together,” the Belarusian head of state said.

“We will join efforts to prevent the attempts to revise the results of World War Two. The aggressor should not look like a peacemaker, and the great feat of the people must not be forgotten," the President of Belarus emphasized.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the countries holding similar positions should get united, like never before, to counter the negative trends on the planet.

"Unfortunately, the situation in the world is far from ‘the Shanghai spirit’ proposed by you which is based on deepened trust, mutually beneficial cooperation on the basis of equality, consultation, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation," the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted with regret that serious contradictions are building up in the modern world. The Belarusian President exchanged views with the Chinese President in this regard, and they came to the conclusion that the situation in the world is uneasy, tense, and that the further development of the planet will depend on how the world’s major states will act.

"Unfortunately, the points of tension are getting more. You can see that in the center there are not just tensions. There is a war. The atmosphere is tense in such regions as the Middle East, Middle and Central Asia. The Islamic State has led to an upsurge of international terrorism,” the Belarusian head of state said. In his view, it is clear that today the effectiveness of the system of international security has decreased. "The instruments of the United Nations have weakened. So has the United Nations itself. It seems that we will not do without the fundamental reforms of the United Nations, and, of course, the role of the People's Republic of China is important here,” the President of Belarus stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus has never refused from the cooperation in the military-industrial areas, between the special services in order to ensure the security of both states and regions.

The President of Belarus expressed gratitude to the President of the People's Republic of China for the friendly and trusting relations. "The relationship that has developed between us allows discussing the most sensitive issues of our relations and the situation in the region," the Belarusian leader said.

The heads of state signed the agreement on friendship and cooperation between Belarus and China and a joint declaration on the strengthening and enhancement of all-round strategic partnership.

Representatives of official delegations signed about 20 agreements and memorandums to bolster cooperation in economy, trade, science, education and culture, implement joint projects. A number of agreements aim to promote inter-regional ties. The sides have also signed a package of loan agreements focused on the development of the transport infrastructure and financing of investment projects.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the signing of the new package of agreement will boost bilateral cooperation in various fields, first of all, in the construction and modernization of the infrastructure in Belarus, interbank interaction, technological, economic and investment cooperation.

"These documents will provide the opportunities to double bilateral trade, to share technology and increase the share of scientific and technological innovations. Plans have been made to create the legal conditions for tourist, educational and cultural exchanges. Military-technical ties will be strengthened. Interregional cooperation between the People's Republic of China and Belarus will also get an extra boost," the Belarusian head of state noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that Belarus and China are moving towards a new level of in relations, the core of which is the transition from credit cooperation to investment one.

The two countries already have such experience. Belarus is implementing two major joint projects: setting up the production of passenger cars with the Chinese company Geely and the construction of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park Great Stone.

The interaction of the two countries has been developing rapidly. In July 2013, Belarus and China established the relations of comprehensive strategic partnership. "Today we maintain a trusting political dialogue, coordinate positions in the international arena, and develop comprehensive mutually beneficial trade, economic, credit and investment, scientific and technological cooperation. We also expand exchanges in the humanitarian sphere,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that Belarus will become a key platform in the Silk Road project. Belarus supports the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Sea Silk Road of the 21st century concepts put forward by Xi Jinping. “You once said that the relations between countries depend on how close their peoples are. I am sure that Belarus will become a key platform in these large-scale projects in the Eurasian region and thus will bring our peoples and our countries closer,” the Belarusian leader said. In his view, this would be facilitated by the new direct air service between Minsk and Beijing.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the parties do not have any problems in the relationship. "The Belarusian people and the government are proud of the relationships with the great Chinese people," the Belarusian head of state said.

"When the West criticizes Belarus for some of our positions, and sometime calls for our isolation, I always cite the example of our cooperation with the People's Republic of China saying that no state can be isolated when it is in good friendly relations with the People's Republic of China," the Belarusian head of state said.

He stressed that it is with great satisfaction that Belarus has been expecting the visit of Xi Jinping and has been seriously preparing for it. "During the visit, you will be able to make sure that all our agreements are respected strictly and clearly. You can count on this country and the people who live here,” the Belarusian leader said.

Xi Jinping, in turn, said that the expected results of the visit to Belarus have been achieved in full. “The Chinese-Belarusian relations are currently at an important stage of development. I hope that my visit will add a new impetus to the further development of bilateral relations. Taking into account the results of the fruitful talks with President Aleksandr Lukashenko I can make a conclusion that the expected results of the visit have been fully achieved,” the Chinese leader said.

“The states will cooperate on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and will support each other on the issues of mutual interest,” the Chinese President said.

China is eager to expand the import of Belarusian products. “We agreed to strengthen comprehensive practical cooperation in the joint development of the Silk Road Economic Belt. We should combine the development strategies of the two countries, thoroughly plan and coordinate the moves in the promotion of practical cooperation. We also need to increase bilateral trade and optimize its structure. China will expand the import of quality and competitive products from Belarus,” Xi Jinping said.

According to the Chinese President, there is a need to develop a number of exemplary projects with the help of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park. The Chinese leader deems it necessary to strengthen cooperation in project financing, which, according to him, can add a powerful impetus to Belarus’ social and economic development.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Xi Jinping for the attention to the enhancement of bilateral cooperation and promotion of friendship between the two nations.

"This visit is a historic event in the bilateral relations between our states, a symbol of the mutual desire to strengthen and deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership," the Belarusian head of state emphasized.

"You came to us in the difficult period of political development in the region, and in our country. You are visiting Belarus in the run-up to the presidential election. We appreciate it very much. I want to assure you that our presidential elections will be held in such a way so that you will never be ashamed of cooperation with Belarus,” Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined.

On 11 May President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping took part in the Belarusian-Chinese business forum and visited the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War History.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that such a large-scale inter-regional business forum of Belarus and China is held for the first time. According to the Belarusian head of state, it testifies to the new level of bilateral relations relying on all-round strategic partnership. The interaction between Belarusian and Chinese regions and companies should be a driving force of cooperation between Belarus and China, the Belarusian leader believes.

“The forum aims to give concrete meaning to the bilateral strategic partnership. The enhancement of friendly contacts and personal ties between heads of regions and enterprises will give a strong impetus to the development of business exchange schemes,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President noted that at present all Belarusian oblasts maintain twin-town relations and cooperation with China; some of them have more than one partner. Governors say that necessary conditions have been created to advance these relations. It is also an important factor for advancing economic cooperation to a higher level, the Belarusian head of state believes.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it is, first of all, needed to implement investment projects in various industries to enhance regional cooperation. The President paid special attention to the fact that Belarus has created unique conditions for investment.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, opening manufacturing facilities in Belarus the Chinese business will be able to use free access to the market of the Eurasian Economic Union. “To be honest, the People’s Republic of China is able to enter the big Eurasian union without Belarus’ help. However, if we talk about the cooperation with the European Union, and China needs it today, such a platform would be very promising for the country. Belarus can become a platform of the kind,” the President said.

The Belarusian head of state believes that Chinese investors will have an opportunity to see for themselves that Belarus provides a comfortable environment for working. “The two heads of state will support them in this,” the Belarusian leader added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed gratitude to Xi Jinping for his personal assistance in the visit of such a representative delegation of Chinese businessmen to Belarus. “China is an ancient civilization, a great nation, a great state and signs in China's relations with other states are of great importance. The fact that hundreds of businessmen have come to Belarus together with the Chinese President is a big sign for our country, and we should make use of it,” the Belarusian President stressed.

“I would like to assure you that we will do our best for you not to be sorry for coming to our country. We will do the utmost for you to be able to advance your interests in Europe in the best way possible,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“We have promised to each other to take our trade and economic relations under a serious control. We should do our level best to make everyone envy our relations with the People’s Republic of China,” the Belarusian head of state stressed.

The President of the People’s Reoublic of china said that Belarus has unique advantages for the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt as the country is located in the center of Europe and the on the Silk Road.

According to the Chinese President, China is interested in the enhancement of all-round cooperation with Belarus, including at the inter-regional level. In this regard the President of the People’s Republic of China voiced a number of proposals which will help improve the business climate by facilitating the procedure of registering enterprises and the provision tax preferences. Apart from that, the sides need to bolster industrial cooperation. Xi Jinping remarked that the Chinese side is ready to share advanced technologies in such areas as railway transport and communications with Belarus.

“We are ready to use the fund of the Silk Road to develop interregional cooperation,” the Chinese President said. He stressed that stronger financial and credit support, including small and medium-sized business of Belarus and China, would promote the strengthening of ties between the regions.

The Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park is a good platform for the development of cooperation, the Chinese President emphasized. “We are in favor of increasing Belarusian investments,” he added.

The President of China stressed that the Belarusian-Chinese trade is growing rapidly in spite of the complicated external conditions, namely global economic slowdown and a tense situation in the region.

Xi Jinping called for the Chinese businessmen present at the forum to use the opportunity and study the cooperation prospects with Belarusian partners. The Chinese President expressed confidence that the active regional participation will raise the Belarusian-Chinese relations onto a higher level.

Aleksandr Lukashenko and Xi Jinping also visited the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War History.

The President of Belarus believes that today when the international community is going through a complicated crisis, historical memory and unity become particularly important.

“The Soviet nation, the Belarusian nation and China are united not only by many years of friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership but by the history of combat brotherhood of the two nations as they defended their countries from aggressors. Belarusians and citizens of China fought for the freedom of their land, for the future of new generations,” the Belarus President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that the museum had an exposition dedicated to the history of Belarus-China combat brotherhood. The exposition covers interaction between the People's Liberation Army of China and the Red Army. “You can see how Chinese patriots participated in the Great Patriotic War here,” said the head of state. He noted that a number of Chinese also took part in the anti-fascism movement in Vitebsk.

Germany laid down arms in May 1945. “But World War Two continued and it ended over there — in the territory of great China — with the destruction of the Kwantung Army. The event put an end to the Japanese militarism. And it was done by the Soviet troops together with the People's Liberation Army of China,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. He pointed out that China waged the war for eight years and lost 35 million Chinese lives.

The Belarus President also said that China President Xi Jinping had decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Victory this year on a large scale. “It will make sure that history will never be falsified. Your deeds will never be forgotten,” the President told the war veterans, who were present. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that he and the China President had come to the museum together in order to bow to the fallen and the live ones. “We wish the most important thing — good health and long life – to every veteran. We thank you!” the head of state said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the Peace Medal to 15 Belarusian veterans who took part in the fight against Japanese aggressors at the end of World War Two.

“You have made a huge contribution to the fight against the fascism. You were heroic defenders of peace on the Earth,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said addressing the veterans. He stressed that the visit to the museum had left a strong impression on him. “The Belarusian people demonstrated outstanding courage in the face of the most horrible war in the humankind’s history. Belarus suffered the first blow of the war. With their lives and blood the Belarusians defended the dignity and independence of the nation and the state. The Belarusian people earned the universal respect and recognition with their heroism,” the Chinese President said.

He emphasized that the peoples of the two countries stood shoulder to shoulder during the years of the joint fight against the aggressors. “The friendship was strengthened by blood during those years. Belarusians as part of the Soviet army fought against the Japanese aggressors in our country, taking part in aerial battles and warfare in the north-east of the country. They accelerated the defeat of the Japanese militarism. I bow low before you,” Xi Jinping said.

The Chinese leader absolutely agrees with Aleksandr Lukashenko that the attempts of falsifying the history of WWII and glorifying the fascism are inadmissible. “We are ready, together with all the nations, including the Belarusian people, to jointly defend the results of our victory in World War Two,” he said.

On 12 May President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping visited the construction site of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park.

The leaders of the two countries were made familiar with the project of the park, short descriptions of investment projects of the first resident companies. Aleksandr Lukashenko and Xi Jinping signed the park’s development plan.

The first seven resident companies of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park have got registration certificates. The ceremony of handing over the certificates was attended by the two leaders.

The administration of the industrial park and the representatives of 14 companies have exchanged letters of intent to become resident companies of the park.

The works to build the infrastructure of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park proceed on schedule. The construction site of the starting zone of the park has been submitted to the general contractor, the construction works have been launched. The designing and construction of standard commercial and industrial facilities for future resident companies are conducted at the same time. It is expected that roads, including with modern road pavement, power networks, water and gas supply systems, water disposal networks, communications, engineering facilities, an electric substation will be built at the end of 2016. It is planned that potential investors will be able to rent real estate (an administrative business center, offices, standard production facilities) in early 2017.

President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping concluded the state visit to Belarus. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko saw off the distinguished guest in the airport.