China and Belarus Deepen Military Ties Amid Diplomatic Strains with the West

China and Belarus Deepen Military Ties Amid Diplomatic Strains with the West

On August 17, 2023, China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu made a crucial visit to Belarus, furthering the military coordination between China and the Eastern European nation. This meeting comes at a time when both countries are confronting diplomatic confrontations with Western nations.

The primary agenda during Minister Li Shangfu's visit was to enhance bilateral military cooperation with Belarus. In his talks with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, Shangfu highlighted the importance of this trip, stating, "The purpose of my visit to Belarus is precisely the implementation of important agreements at the level of heads of state and the further strengthening of bilateral military cooperation."

While both parties concurred on enhancing their military drills next year, the specifics of this augmented security collaboration remained undisclosed.

Both nations emphasized that their growing cooperation is not aimed against any third country. Lukashenko further stressed the significance of "friends" like China and Russia for Belarus's military support.

Additionally, Lukashenko conveyed his profound respect and appreciation towards Chinese President Xi Jinping for China's recent support to Belarus, labeling their relationship as an 'unbreakable' friendship.

This burgeoning camaraderie between China and Belarus occurs amidst escalating tensions with the West. China's military exercises near Taiwan, its treatment of the Uyghur minority, and alleged espionage activities have drawn criticism from major Western powers, including the US, Germany, and the EU.

On the other hand, Belarus has been at the receiving end of Western sanctions due to its support in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. With Lukashenko's nod, Russia has been leveraging Belarusian territories to initiate attacks on Ukraine.

Nevertheless, China has maintained its stance of neutrality regarding Russia's actions in Ukraine. Shangfu's trip to Belarus, which followed his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, signifies the deepening security relationships between these nations.

In sum, as the geopolitical landscape becomes more intricate, the evolving military and strategic ties between China and Belarus hint at a reshaped alliance in global politics.