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China’s protection minister guarantees to spice up cooperation with Russian ally Belarus

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Chinese language Protection Minister Li Shangfu on Thursday visited Belarus and stated his nation would improve navy cooperation with Russia’s neighbor, the place Moscow is deploying tactical nuclear weapons

ByYuras Karmanau

August 17, 2023, 10:04 AM

On this handout photograph launched by Belarusian Presidential Press Workplace, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, left, and China’s Protection Minister Gen. Li Shangfu, proper, converse throughout their talks in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. (Belarusian Presidential Press Workplace by way of AP)

The Related Press

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TALLINN, Estonia — Chinese language Protection Minister Li Shangfu on Thursday visited Belarus and stated his nation would improve navy cooperation with Russia’s neighbor and ally, the place Moscow is deploying tactical nuclear weapons.

Shangfu met with strongman President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk and stated “the aim of my go to to Belarus is exactly the implementation of necessary agreements on the degree of heads of state and the additional strengthening of bilateral navy cooperation.”

Neither facet gave particulars of what the cooperation will entail, however the two international locations have agreed to carry joint navy workouts subsequent yr.

Li visited Russia simply earlier than going to Belarus.

Russian troops that have been deployed in Belarus have been a part of Russia’s invading power in Ukraine and Russian troops and weapons stay there.

Belarusian forces haven’t taken half within the Ukraine battle and Lukashenko on Thursday stated China’s navy help wouldn’t be directed towards third international locations. Lukashenko has beforehand stated Belarus has taken supply of Russian nuclear weapons and on Thursday he stated they may solely be utilized by Belarus if the nation was below risk.

“Nuclear weapons, that are in Belarus, is not going to be used if there isn’t any aggression towards us,” Lukashenko stated, including that Belarus wouldn’t enter into hostilities towards Ukraine so long as its border was not violated.

China claims to be impartial within the battle in Ukraine, however accuses the US and its allies of upsetting Russia and maintains sturdy financial, diplomatic and commerce ties with Moscow.

Belarusian analyst Valery Karbalevich stated the go to of the Chinese language protection minister is “an necessary sign not solely to the EU and the US, but in addition to Ukraine.”

“With this go to, China marks the scope of its navy pursuits and reveals that it’s excited by build up ties with Minsk and Moscow, together with navy cooperation, regardless of the dissatisfaction of Western international locations,” he instructed The Related Press. “That is additionally a sign to Ukraine that the prolongation of the battle can power China to take one facet.”

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