The presidents of China and Belarus joined on Wednesday in urging a ceasefire and negotiations to reach a political solution to the Ukrainian conflict.
The joint appeal came at a meeting in Beijing between Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
This amounted to an endorsement of a 12-point Chinese peace proposal issued on Friday that requires respecting the territorial integrity of all countries. The proposal doesn’t say what would happen to the regions Russia occupied after the invasion or provide details on how the peace process should proceed, and it hasn’t garnered much support.
“The core of China’s position is to call for peace and encourage talks … and that the legitimate security concerns of all countries be respected,” Xi said, quoted by China’s state broadcaster CCTV.
In a clear reference to the United States and its allies, he added: “The countries concerned should stop politicizing and using the world economy as their tool, and take measures that truly promote a ceasefire and stop the war and resolve the crisis peacefully”.
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO WILL COME TO BEIJING FOR A 3-DAY VISIT
Belarus “fully shares and supports China’s position and proposals on a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis, which is of great importance for resolving the crisis,” Lukashenko said, citing CCTV.
China has long had a close relationship with Lukashenko and following their talks the two leaders oversaw the signing of a number of cooperation agreements in areas ranging from agriculture to customs enforcement and sports.
However, the Belarusian leader’s trip also illustrates the depth of Beijing’s ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his allies.
China says it is a neutral side in the conflict and has maintained contact with the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which has cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement but said success would depend on actions, not words.
BELARUS LEADER LUKASHENKO PRAISES PUTIN: ‘IN BETTER SHAPE THAN EVER’
Despite this, China claims it has a “limitless friendship” with Russia and has refused to criticize the Moscow invasion, or even refer to it as such. He accused the US and NATO of provoking the conflict and “stoking the fire” by supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons, while also condemning the sanctions against Russia and entities seen as aiding its military effort, including Chinese companies .
China has maintained what it calls normal trade relations with Russia, and US officials recently warned it was considering sending military assistance to Moscow, which is increasingly short on munitions and other war materials. Beijing called the US allegations a smear campaign and said it was committed to promoting peace talks.
Lukashenko’s government has strongly supported Moscow and has allowed Belarusian territory to be used as a launching point for the initial invasion of Ukraine a year ago. Russia has maintained a contingent of troops and weapons in Belarus and the two neighbors and allies have conducted joint military exercises.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
This stance has left Lukashenko even more isolated in Europe, where his country faces sanctions from the European Union both for its role in the war and its crackdown on domestic opposition.
Lukashenko has been Belarus’ only president since the position was created in 1994. He brutally crushed protests in 2020 over his disputed re-election in a vote that opposition and Western countries considered fraudulent.