Minsk/Beijing: – Belarus, who was pleading Russia for help to dismantle the pro-democracy agitation in the country, has joined hands with China for financial interests. A few days ago, Russia had refused to lend USD 600 million to Belarus. It has been revealed that Belarus has succeeded in securing a loan of USD 500 million from China, following the Russian refusal. Although Russia has not issued an official reaction over this development, analysts claim that this Chinese interference in Belarus could escalate tensions between Russia and China.
Strong protests are being held in Belarus against President Alexander Lukashenko since the last one and a half month. President Lukashenko had pleaded Russian President Vladimir Putin for assistance to dismantle the opposition to his regime. Putin provided assistance on a big scale, despite having disputes over specific issues. Russia had clearly warned the United States and European countries not to interfere in the Belarus issue. Against this background, China seems to have interfered in the internal matters of Belarus by providing financial assistance, which had been refused by Russia.
China Development Bank, a Chinese government undertaking, has sanctioned a loan of USD 500 million to Belarus. Belarus’s Finance Minister Maksim Yermalovich informed that an agreement for the loan has been signed with China. Belarus has delivered a message that Belarus is not entirely dependent on Russia for its financial needs and Russian analysts are claiming that a strong reaction may be received from Russia. The Russian analysts are also pointing to the fact that Belarus has been trying to increase closeness with China since the last few years. Bilateral trade between Belarus and China has reached USD 3.5 billion.
China has become the third-largest trading partner of Belarus after Russia and Ukraine. It is not possible that Russia will ignore this increasing cooperation. Putin’s ambition is to make Belarus a part of Russia. The developing China-Belarus closeness could create an obstacle in this process. Therefore, as per Russian analysts, Russia will register resentment even with China along with Belarus.