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Belarussian President to start his three-day visit to China

July 15, 2013, 1:14 UTC+3

During the visit the two countries plan to sign a joint declaration and over 20 bilateral agreements

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MINSK, July 15 (Itar-Tass) - Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko will begin his three-day visit to China on Monday at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the presidential press service said.

Lukashenko is expected to meet with Xi Jinping, Premier of China’s State Council Li Keqiang and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Yu Zhengsheng.

During the visit the two countries plan to sign a joint declaration and over 20 bilateral agreements, protocols and contracts.

Lukashenko said he considered cooperation with China strategic.

“The continuation of intensive political dialogue between our countries, expansion of relations in trade, economic, investment and humanitarian sectors, the implementation of joint large-scale projects in the near future will take Belarussian-Chinese strategic partnership to a qualitatively new level,” he said earlier.

At the end of 2009 the two countries reached agreements on the opening of preferential credit lines worth $15 billion for Belarus by the Chinese government and banks. Credits are issued for investment projects under Minsk’s applications.

China has implemented large-scale projects in energy and cement production in Belarus. It also participates in the reconstruction of the Minsk-Gomel highway. Until the end of the year it will start the construction of a hydropower plant in Belarus’s Vitebsk region and a sulphate pulp plant with the annual output of 400,000 tonnes on the premises of the Svetlogorsk pulp and cardboard plant. Moreover, an assembly line of Belarussian-Chinese cars started operation in Borisov. In early June Minsk finalized a general plan with China on the construction of an industrial park.

Belarus also plans to give an impetus to cooperation in protection of national cyberspace. Lukashenko said he planned to discuss this issue with the Chinese authorities.

He also pointed to the two countries’ dynamic cooperation in space, which was proved by the implementation of a joint project to create a national satellite communication and broadcast system in Belarus.

In May Lukashenko met with Xu Qiliang, Deputy Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China.

“We have the whole range of interesting joint projects. I will say sincerely - we very much hope for deepening out military-technical cooperation to enhance our defence capacity,” he said. “Our trade, economic and political cooperation, which among other things is proved by exchange of high-level visits, demonstrates that we have established very close strategic relations.”

A significant negative balance of trade, which is constantly growing, is characteristic of Belarus’s trade with China. Last year Belarus’s export to China shrank by $200 million as against 2011. A negative balance increased by $400 million almost to $2 billion.

According to local experts, Belarus mainly exports to China potassium fertilizers and there are no grounds to believe that China will need a great number of Belarus-made dump trucks and refrigerators, in which export Minsk is interested.

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