Lukashenka "proud" that Belarus joined China's Belt and Road scheme

Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Monday that he was proud that Belarus had been one of the first countries in the world to join China's Belt and Road initiative.

Speaking at a meeting of heads of state in the framework of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Mr. Lukashenka said that the project was "not only redrawing the world's economic map and creating new growth areas but also shaping international relations of a new type."

According to him, it is aimed at "harmonizing all economic institutions and removing barriers to the free movement of goods, investment and people."

Mr. Lukashenka described the initiative as a "unifying philosophy of international cooperation" in which China was offering "ways of stimulating joint development."

Mr. Lukashenka said that the project should be viewed not just as a trade route but as a "channel of ideas and joint innovation creation." "We support in every way the thought expressed by esteemed Chairman Xi Jinping about the need to create one's own technologies on the basis of domestic developments, and are being guided by the principle declared by him, which says that 'one cannot build one's future based on others' past achievements'," he said.

He played up bilateral ties between Belarus and China, mentioning the Vyaliki Kamen (Great Stone) Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park in the Minsk region as a key element of the Belt and Road scheme.

"I will stress once again that Belarus is a reliable and responsible partner of China," said Mr. Lukashenka.