China is hosting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russia’s military ally, for a state visit on Tuesday, sparking speculation of China’s possible increasing involvement in the year-old invasion of Ukraine.
Lukashenko was expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and sign trade, education and technology agreements. China has denied that it is providing direct aid to Russia in its war against Ukraine.
China publicly has tried to position itself as a mediator in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, offering a 12-point proposal for ending the war that has received little, if any, support beyond its borders. The three-day trip by Lukashenko is expected to boost a show of support for Russia.
“There’s been a clear push by Beijing, Moscow, Minsk and Tehran to demonstrate a narrative that says, ‘We have other options, and we’ll put them on proud display — you can sanction us all you want, and it doesn’t matter,'” Raffaello Pantucci, senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies in London told the Washington Post.
An editorial in the Chinese Communist Party-controlled publication Global Times said the visit shows that it is trying to create peaceful coalitions and blamed the United States for hostilities.