Belarusian leader, a key Putin ally, plans state visit to China next week
Lukashenko has backed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and allowed Belarsian territory to be used in the Russian assault.
Beijing announced on Saturday that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will travel to China on a state visit from February 28 to March 2.
The announcement of the trip comes a day after Beijing, looking to play a role in mediating a resolution to the Russian war on Ukraine, published a 12-point “position paper” aimed at ending the conflict.
“At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will pay a state visit to China from February 28 to March 2,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The Belarusian foreign ministry confirmed the planned visit, saying the Chinese and Belarusian foreign ministers discussed it in a telephone call on Friday.
Lukashenko has backed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and allowed its territory to be used in the Russian assault. Lukashenko said last week that his country was prepared to join Russia’s war against Ukraine, if attacked. That prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to warn the Belarusian leader not to get directly involved in the war.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said he will visit China in early April and seek Beijing’s help in ending the war in Ukraine. “The fact that China is engaging in peace efforts is a good thing,” Macron said, according to French media reports.
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy also said he would like to engage with Beijing following the proposals unveiled on Friday toward resolving the conflict. Zelenskyy said he was open to considering some aspects of the Chinese “position paper” and would welcome the chance to discuss the proposals with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
A meeting with Xi could be “useful” to both countries and for global security, Zelenskyy said.