China and Belarus express “extreme interest” in the peace of Ukraine.

China and Belarus’ leaders have expressed “extreme interest” in a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.

After talks in Beijing, Chinese President and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, issued the statement.

Mr. Lukashenko stated that his country “fully supports” a Beijing plan to end the conflict in Ukraine.

Last week, China announced a plan for peace talks, calling for the respect of national sovereignty.

The visit also comes just days after China dispatched its top diplomat, Wang Yi, to meet with Mr. Putin.

China and Belarus “expressed deep concern” about the conflict and “extreme interest in establishing peace in Ukraine as soon as possible,” according to the Belarus state-run news agency Belta.

Mr. Lukashenko has aided Russian President Vladimir Putin in his war in Ukraine, and observers see his visit to Beijing as yet another sign of China closing ranks with Russia and its allies.

Belarus’s president praised China’s peace plan.

Respect for “all countries’ sovereignty” is emphasized in the 12-point document. It does not explicitly state that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine, but it does condemn the use of “unilateral sanctions,” an implicit criticism of Ukraine’s Western allies.

Mr Lukashenko said he “fully supports the initiative on international security you have put forward”, according to remarks released by his aides.

Political decisions “must first and foremost aim to prevent a slide into a global conflict with no winners,” he told Mr Xi.

The West reacted negatively to China’s peace plan.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed with some of it, calling it evidence of China’s willingness to engage. Beijing has yet to respond publicly to Mr Zelensky’s call for a summit.

The Chinese leader called for discarding “all Cold War mentality”, according to a Chinese readout of the meeting with Mr Lukashenko.

Mr Xi added that countries “should stop politicising” the world economy “do things that will aid a ceasefire, cessation of war, and a peaceful resolution”.
Mr. Lukashenko’s three-day visit comes after China upgraded its relationship with Belarus in September, months into the Ukraine conflict.

According to Chinese foreign ministry statements, their relationship is a “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership,” a rare term used for only one other country – Pakistan.

According to a BBC Monitoring analysis, Belarus ranks very high in China’s hierarchy of international relationships, just below Russia.

Belarus has been an important ally since the beginning of the conflict, when it allowed Russia to use the Belarusian-Ukrainian border as a launchpad for an attack on Kyiv, which ultimately failed.

Meanwhile, China has attempted to appear neutral by stating support for both sovereignty and the right to national security, which are both interests of Ukraine and Russia.

But Beijing has also refused to condemn Moscow and supported their war effort in indirect ways. According to multiple analyses, Chinese state media actively propagated Russian views on the war.

The Chinese government strongly denied last week’s US claims that it was considering supplying weapons and ammunition to Russia.

“We do not accept the US pointing fingers on China-Russia relations, let alone coercion and pressure,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in response to the allegations.

Chinese companies have been accused of supplying Russia with dual-use technology (items that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, such as drones and semi-conductor chips).

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