China’s Defense Minister, Li Shangfu, is in Belarus for a three-day visit to strengthen ties with the staunch Russian ally. This visit comes as NATO countries are making their borders safer with the nation.
Minister Li flew from Russia and was welcomed in Minsk by his Belarusian counterpart, Viktor Khrenin on Wednesday. Li is aiming to intensify military ties with nations across the globe.
The visit is happening at a time when Poland and the Baltic countries are worried about their borders and are continuously asking to tighten border security. They cite the presence of Russian mercenaries that have decamped to Belarus as a reason for increasing border security, and Belarus is making things tense by sending migrants to the border.
The border to Belarus is the passage point between a main freight line flowing between China and the EU.
In March, Vladimir Putin welcomed China’s Xi Jinping to the Kremlin for a dinner meeting, highlighting their close friendship. This gathering came shortly after International Criminal Court (ICC) requested the arrest of the Russian president for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
The timing of Xi’s visit drew criticism from Washington, which believed that Beijing was offering political support to Moscow during a sensitive time. This raised concerns about potential future wrongdoings. Notably, this marked Xi’s first overseas trip since being granted an unprecedented third term as the Chinese leader. While Xi has been striving to portray China as a potential mediator for peace in Ukraine, he has simultaneously been strengthening economic bonds with his closest ally, Russia.
Now, as the visit of China’s Defense Minister goes on with Russia’s staunch supporter, Belarus, the world again is keeping a close eye on all the developments.