Xi Jinping and Alexander Lukashenko call for a peace agreement “as soon as possible” for Ukraine.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko called for a ceasefire and negotiations to reach a political settlement of the Ukrainian conflict during talks in Beijing.
The two leaders issued a joint statement on Wednesday in which they expressed “their deep concern about the development of the armed conflict in the European region and their extreme interest in the earliest possible establishment of peace in Ukraine”, according to the Belarusian state news agency Belta.
“Belarus and China want to avoid an escalation of the crisis and are ready to make efforts to restore peace and order in the region,” he added.
Their summit brought together two of the foreign leaders on whom Russian President Vladimir Putin depends most for support as his army struggles to achieve the goals of its year-long invasion.
Beijing has become increasingly vocal in calling for peace as Ukraine’s conflict drags on, and denied it would supply arms to Moscow after US officials said China was considering doing so.
Last week he released a 12-point document calling for a comprehensive ceasefire in Ukraine that largely summed up China’s previous position and was met with skepticism in the West.
In televised comments, Xi said China is keen to build trust and cooperation with Belarus “given the unstable and turbulent international situation.”
In a clear reference to the United States and its allies, Xi added that “relevant countries should stop politicizing and using the global economy as their tool, and take steps that truly advance a ceasefire. fire and end the war and resolve the crisis peacefully”.
“Descent into a global confrontation”
Lukashenko said the meeting was taking place “in a very complicated time” and was necessary to prevent “an uncontrolled descent into a global confrontation that has no winners”.
He said Xi, in his peace plan, had “clearly, definitively and pointedly declared this to the international community”.
“That is why Belarus has actively put forward its peace proposals and fully supports your push for international security,” he added.
China has long had a close relationship with Lukashenko, and following their talks, the two leaders oversaw the signing of a series of cooperation agreements in areas ranging from agriculture to customs enforcement and to sports.
However, the Belarusian leader’s trip also illustrated the depth of Beijing’s ties to Russian leader Putin and his allies.
China said it was a neutral party in the conflict and maintained contact with the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement but said success would depend on actions, not words.
Despite this, China has said it has “boundless friendship” with Russia and has refused to criticize the invasion of Moscow, or even refer to it as such.
He accused the United States and NATO of provoking the conflict and “fanning the flames” by supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons, while condemning the sanctions imposed on Russia and entities considered to contribute to its military effort – including Chinese companies.
Belarus shares a border with Ukraine and Russia, but is financially and politically dependent on the Putin administration. Lukashenko’s government has strongly backed Moscow and allowed Belarusian territory to be used as staging ground for the initial invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
Russia has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons in Belarus and both neighbors and allies have conducted joint military exercises.
That stance has left Lukashenko even more isolated in Europe, where his country faces European Union sanctions both for its role in the war and for Lukashenko’s crackdown on domestic opposition.
China also has longstanding ties to Lukashenko, who has been Belarus’ only president since the post was created in 1994. He brutally suppressed protests in 2020 against his disputed re-election in a vote that the opposition and western countries considered fraudulent.