Lukashenko’s Visit to China and the Deepening Relations on the Minsk-Beijing Line

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The isolation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko by the West since 2020 has led the Minsk administration to seek new foreign policy. Because Belarus has been facing sanctions since 2020. In addition, Western sanctions against Belarus have increased further after the Russia-Ukraine War, which began on February 24, 2022. In this case, Belarus’ attitude towards the war was decisive.

In this context, Belarus has started to deepen its relations with actors such as Russia and China, especially in order to overcome sanctions. Nevertheless, by developing relations with a country like Beijing, which is a pioneer in the political and economic fields in the world, the Minsk administration aims to attract investment to the country and to ease the sanctions it is exposed to from the West.

In this sense, Lukashenko’s visit to China on February 28, 2023, is important for the further development of ties between the two countries. During his visit, Lukashenko offered his support for the 12-point peace plan put forward by China.

On the other hand, the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out that the ties between the parties are based on “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership.” The term is a qualification that China rarely uses, and it is used only for Pakistan, except for Belarus. This means that Belarus ranks very high in China’s hierarchy of international relations, just below Russia.[1]

From this point of view, it can be argued that the relations between Minsk and Beijing have developed in a multidimensional framework. As a matter of fact, during Lukashenko’s visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping described the friendship between Belarus and China as “unbreakable.” Jinping also expressed his readiness to work with Belarus to promote at a high level the healthy and stable development of relations between the two countries in an international conjuncture full of instabilities and uncertainties.[2]

In addition to all this, Jinping and Lukashenko signed a joint declaration on the further development of “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” and agreed to implement numerous bilateral cooperation documents in the fields of trade, industry, agriculture, customs, science and technology, health, tourism, and sports.[3] As a matter of fact, the value of the agreements signed between Belarus and China during Lukashenko’s visit is 3.5 billion dollars.[4]

In this context, Lukashenko’s visit was an important turning point in terms of confirming the cooperation between the two countries and raising the ties to higher levels. Because in a conjuncture where Belarus is especially exposed to Western sanctions, Beijing has not hesitated to deepen its economic and political ties with Minsk.

On the other hand, another aspect that increases China’s interest in Belarus is related to the Belt and Road Initiative.  Because it is known that a partnership has been developed between Minsk and Beijing within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Belarus is one of the first participants in the Belt and Road Initiative announced by China in 2013, and in the last two years, trade between the parties has increased by 33% per year, exceeding 5 billion dollars.[5]

Nevertheless, China’s investments in Belarus are also relieving Moscow, Minsk’s biggest ally. Because Russia is stuck in the region after the invasion it launched against Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In this sense, it can be argued that Russia is pleased with the positive developments between China and Belarus.

On the other hand, Belarus is an important member in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, especially due to its geopolitical position. Eight rail container routes in China-West Europe trade pass through Belarus, allowing cargo to move between China and Germany much faster. Moreover, the fact that China is one of the top three trading partners of Belarus shows the extent of the special relationship between the parties.[6] In this respect, it can be said that Belarus is considered as a key actor in the provision of Asia-Europe connectivity for China.

In conclusion, it can be argued that the relations on the Belarus-China line will gain further momentum in the future. Belarus is considered by China as an important component of the Belt and Road Initiative. In particular, it can be mentioned about a developing cooperation between the parties on the basis of the Belt and Road Initiative. This is the main factor that increases Beijing’s interest in Minsk.

[1] “China and Belarus Express ‘Extreme İnterest’ in Ukraine Peace”, BBC,, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[2] “China’s Xi Heralds ‘Unbreakable’ Friendship with Belarus, an Ally of Russia”, NPR,, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[3] Ibid.

[4]  “Aleksandr Lukashenko Concludes State Visit to China”, President of the Republic of Belarus,, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[5] “China Rolls out the Red Carpet for Key Putin Ally as US Warns Against Aiding Russia’s War”, CNN,, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

[6] “Belt and Road Initiative: The Role of Belarus”, HKTDC Research,, (Date of Accession: 21.03.2023).

Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege Özkan, 2019 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2022 senesinde aynı üniversitenin Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılap Tarihi Anabilim Dalı’nda hazırladığı “Türk Siyasi Hayatında Selim Rauf Sarper ve Faaliyetleri” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Hâlihazırda aynı enstitüde doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. 2020-2021 yılları arasında Türk Tarih Kurumu Yüksek Lisans Bursiyeri olan Özkan, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.