Presidents praise ties, sign friendship treaty
Updated: 2015-05-11 06:56
By XING ZHIGANG in Minsk, Belarus andZHANGYUNBI in Beijing(China Daily)
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko (R) shows the way to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a meeting in Minsk, May 10, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]
Industrial park in Belarus will be key part of Silk Road, leaders say
Belarus gave a warm welcome to President Xi Jinping on Sunday as he was greeted at Minsk International Airport by President Alexander Lukashenko.
In line with local traditions for visits by distinguished guests, local youths offered bread, salt and flowers to Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan, then watched as the couple dipped the bread into the salt before tasting it.
Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Belarus in 14 years, said the friendship between the countries "has a profound origin", and Beijing "feels satisfied about the development of China-Belarus relations" as the ties grow steadily closer.
Bilateral trade surged to nearly $4 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 27 percent. Chinese investment in Belarus exceeds $400 million, and loans totaling $5.5 billion have been offered to Belarus by China.
The two heads of state signed a China-Belarus treaty on friendly cooperation and issued a joint statement on further developing and deepening the countries' comprehensive strategic partnership that was established in 2013.
China and Belarus are determined to make a jointly developed industrial park a flagship program of the Silk Road Economic Belt, the leaders said.
The China-Belarus Industrial Park is the largest cooperative investment project by the two countries.
Xi said the ties could be defined as a role model of two-way relations, and he noted that China has become Belarus' largest trade partner recently.
Lukashenko said the two countries have completed major programs including the China-Belarus industrial park, and these experiences are good for broader collaboration, such as in the Silk Road Economic Belt.
The Belarusian president said during a meeting in April with visiting Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan that the park "should be an important part" of China's efforts to build the economic belt that will connect Asia and Europe.