Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, a close Russian ally, on Wednesday, in talks watched closely for signs that Beijing is expanding coordination with Moscow and its supporters in their standoff with the West.
Belarus "fully supports the initiative put forward by you,” Lukashenko told Xi in Beijing Wednesday, according to state-run news agency Belta. He was referring to China’s proposals for international security, many of which were echoed in its 12-point peace initiative for Ukraine released last week. That plan was quickly dismissed by Kyiv and its allies in the U.S. and Europe.
The summit is the latest sign that Xi is taking a deeper interest in the war in Ukraine, a year after Russia launched the most intense conflict in Europe since World War II. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is anticipating a visit by Xi in the near future.