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Chinese defense minister claims 'strategic partnership' with Belarus

by Elsa Court August 16, 2023 7:14 PM 1 min read
China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu addresses a speech during the Moscow Conference on International Security in Kubinka, in the outskirts of Moscow, on Aug. 15, 2023. (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Belarus and China have a "comprehensive strategic partnership," Chinese defense minister Li Shangfu said in Minsk on Aug. 16, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported.

“The relations between Belarus and China have been continuously strengthening, steadily developing and moving forward" over recent years, Shangfu said.

The two countries now have "truly fraternal relations," he added, and claimed that China is Belarus' second biggest partner for bilateral trade.

China's defense minister arrived in Belarus on Aug. 16 on a planned state visit.

On Aug. 15, Li met with Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu on the sidelines of the Moscow Conference on International Security in the Russian capital.

China's support has become increasingly important for Russia's war effort, according to a report by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The report, which was released on July 27, detailed how China was delivering millions of dollars worth of dual-use technologies, parts of military equipment, and other supplies to Moscow.

While there have not yet been independently verified instances of lethal military aid being delivered from China to Russia, Chinese-made mortars have been observed on numerous occasions in Russian ammunition dumps captured by Ukrainian troops.

US and Australia call on Chinese authorities to influence Russia
The United States and Australia condemned Russia’s weaponization of food in a joint statement on July 29, calling on world powers such as China to influence Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
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