Putin ally Lukashenko and Chinese President Xi Jinping have vowed to deepen security ties.

Hong Kong (CNN) Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko — a close ally of Vladimir Putin — pledged to deepen defense and security ties and expressed shared views on the war in Ukraine as geopolitical tensions escalated at a meeting in Beijing on Wednesday. War of Russia will continue to rise.

Lukashenko endorsed China’s latest stance A “Political Solution” to the ConflictAccording to the Chinese Foreign Ministry meeting, a statement released by Beijing last week called for peace talks to end the conflict but did not press for a Russian withdrawal from Ukraine — drawing skepticism from Western leaders.

Both Xi and Lukashenko expressed “deep concern over the protracted armed conflict” and looked forward to the “soon return of peace to Ukraine,” according to a joint statement following their sit-in at the Great Hall of the People, with Xi congratulating Lukashenko. A ceremony with a phalanx of Chinese troops.

The visit by the Belarusian leader — who allowed Russian troops to use Belarus to stage their initial incursion into Ukraine — comes as tensions between the United States and China have escalated in recent weeks. Concerns from Washington Beijing is considering sending lethal aid to the Kremlin’s struggling war effort.

Beijing has denied those claims and instead sought to portray itself as an impartial peace agent — in contrast to the United States, which it accuses of “adding fuel to the fire” in the conflict and damaging the global economy with sanctions targeting Russia. .

Addressing the war at a meeting on Wednesday, Xi called on “relevant countries” to “stop politicizing and instrumentalizing the world economy” and work to help “settle the crisis peacefully,” in an apparent reference to the United States and its allies.

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The joint statement underscored the unity between Minsk and Beijing, while opposing what they see as a Western-led global order, including “their joint statement against all forms of hegemony and power politics, including illegal unilateral imposition. Economic sanctions and restrictions against other countries.”

China and Belarus, which have been targeted by Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion, will enhance their cooperation in a range of economic areas, the statement said.

They pledged to “deepen cooperation” on training military personnel, fighting terrorism and jointly preventing a “color revolution” — which the autocrats accuse of popular pro-democracy movements backed by Western governments.

Tensions with the West

The meeting, described by Chinese state media as “warm and friendly”, was the first face-to-face meeting of the leaders since they upgraded ties to an “all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership” on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. Last September in Uzbekistan, Putin also attended.

“Today we will jointly set new visions for the development of bilateral relations… Our long-standing friendly exchanges will keep our friendship unbroken,” Xi told Lukashenko during the meeting, according to Chinese state media. He approved Belarus’ full membership in the SCO, led by China and Russia, where it is currently an observer state.

Speaking the same day from Uzbekistan, a SCO member, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said China “cannot have it both ways” and that it was continuing to “publicly present itself as a force for peace”. “Fuel the flames of this fire started by Vladimir Putin.”

Blinken said China’s peace proposal had “some positive elements” but “based on Russian propaganda efforts and misinformation about deterring and countering Russia, China is doing the opposite of supporting peace in Ukraine.”

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He repeated Western concerns that China was considering providing lethal aid to Russia, then said he had no plans to meet his Russian or Chinese counterparts at the March 2 G20 meeting of foreign ministers in New Delhi, India.

Lukashenko said he fully supports Beijing’s “latest” security effort, days after announcing a 12-point stance on Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The tightening of ties between Minsk and Beijing also comes with years of deterioration in Belarus’ relations with the West.

The former Soviet state has been targeted by tough sanctions from the United States and its allies in response to Moscow’s aggression after Lukashenko allowed Russian troops to invade Ukraine along the 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) Ukrainian-Belarusian border north of Kyiv.

The EU did not recognize the results of Lukashenko’s 2020 election victory — which sparked mass pro-democracy protests in the country and was followed by a brutal government crackdown. The US has called the election a “fraud”.

Throughout the conflict in Ukraine there have been fears that Belarus could again be used as a launching pad for another Russian offensive or that Lukashenko’s own troops would join the war. Before traveling to Moscow earlier this month, Lukashenko “No way,” he said If Ukraine is not attacked, his country will send troops.

Like China, Belarus has previously indicated that the United States does not want to see an end to the conflict.

Before traveling to Moscow to meet Putin, Lukashenko told reporters earlier this month that he wanted to see “peaceful negotiations” and accused the US of blocking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from talks.

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“America only needs and wants this carnage,” he said.

CNN’s Beijing bureau, Martin Koilando, Wayne Cheng and Sandy Sidhu contributed reporting.

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