On September 30, 2016, at the Yingjie Overseas Exchange Center of Peking University (PKU), the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko (Прэзідэнт Рэспублікі Беларусь) spoke at Peking University. Chairman of the Peking University Council Zhu Shanlu, Vice President Li Yansong, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages Ning Qi, and the Executive Vice Dean of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies Peking University Guan Guihai met with President Lukashenko.
President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (Прэзідэнт Рэспублікі Беларусь)
At the scene of President Lukashenko's speech
Chairman Zhu extended a warm welcome to President Lukashenko. Chairman Zhu explained that Belarus is a good friend and partner of China, and that the bilateral ties are strong; the mutual trust has been continuously enhanced, and the two sides have maintained frequent coordination in regional and international issues. For example, Belarus has been firmly supporting and promoting China’s "Silk Road Economic Zone". China also respects and supports Belarus' path of independent development and upholds international justice and equality. He added that advanced education plays an important role in enhancing cooperation between the two countries. Chairman Zhu welcomed President Lukashenko to the stage, and warm applause from the audience resonated through the hall as the President of the Republic of Belarus took the stage.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Chairman of the Peking University Council Zhu Shanlu
The full text of President Alexander Lukashenko’s speech:
My dear friends, this is the second time for me to come to Peking University, and this is also my ninth visit to China. Long time ago, when I was a senator, I had come to China. I saw Chinese people at that time was very determined with the same goal, and over the past 25 years, China has been developing with this strong characteristic.
After I became the president, I learned more about the intention of China’s development. You started economy growth with setting up special economic zones, aiming at acquiring the most advanced technology, which is also the key point of your economic policy.
I still remember meeting with two of your former leaders when I was young. We talked about technology all the time. Frankly speaking, we were ahead of China in terms of technology at that time because we inherited a lot from the Soviet Union. We could and did offer our technology to China in time. After 25 years, the situation turned over, we are asking you for advanced technology. Great China and her people also would like to satisfy our desires.
The leader of Peking University just mentioned Silk Roads economic belt. Last year Xi Jinping paid a visit to Minsk, where China-Belarus Industrial Park located, a bright pearl in the Silk Roads economic belt. Such a location had never been offered to us by any other country before. China is our reliable partner and we attach great importance to our friendship.
One of the members of your political bureau also told me that Xi had became intimate friend with only one of other state leaders. We know each other and each other’s family members a lot . We visit each other and maintain friendly personal relationship, which is very significant in international politics.
Let’s go back to the beginning, I am not a new man for politics, neither for China. To a certain extend, I am the founder of Belarus-China relations. When I was a senator I said that, we should reserve and refine the political and economic system of both countries and act as a successor of beneficial heritage, which is exactly the road we chose. I feel it is my honor to become the first man in Belarus-China relations.
Today, I am very glad to deliver a speech in one of the best universities in China, and contribute to the development of China. Peking University fostered many famous people who had played decisive roles in China’s history, such as Lu Xun(Zhou Shuren), Chen Duxiu. Your have the motto of inclusiveness, freedom and democracy, which reflects the expectation for China’s elites. Peking University contributed a lot for the development of the whole Asia and even the whole body of mankind. Among you, politicians, economists, diplomats, and entrepreneurs will all step onto the world stage in the future.
Belarusian students are similar with you: determined, diligent and keeping faith. They know that, to become future leaders, they should have many qualities, such as hard-working, self-disciplinary, virtuous, which is also essential for the global development.
The characteristic of international relations nowadays is that each country compete with each other intensely, and the global situation intensified, with many severe challenges showing up. The base of contemporary era is unpredictable elements. In international society, new threats are emerging, such as middle-east morass, ISIS terrorism attack, Syria civil war, North Africa conflicts, Ukraine problem, refugee crisis, and the abuse of sanction, mortality of underprivileged children, lack of education and sanitation resource, unbalance of ecology, religion collision, etc. Although we achieved2 positive progress, we have to admit that after so many years, we not only failed to overcome these old problems, but also felt quite helpless with new hazards.
I spoke in the United Nations that imbalance of development is undermining public interests and personal rights. Some countries taking protecting human rights as an excuse, topple governments, intervene domestic affairs and even conduct militant interference, which leads to international chaos and anarchy with immeasurable casualties. Even the best desires could not be achieved by bad measures.
I feel regret that Color Revolution caused instability, disorder of state mechanism, loss of governance and declination of people’s living standard. New challenges means new opportunities. The international society should take actions, not to raise more conflicts, but to cooperate for the welfare and mutual understanding of the humankind.
Belarus insists deeply participating in the international and regional politics, blending in global road harmoniously, and calls for corporate responsibility. We are opposed to external pressure and obsession. Thus, Belarus decides to enhance and strengthen cooperation with all neighboring countries, no matter west or east, and proceed conversations with all partners. However, all the collective actions and efforts should base on equality status and elimination of obsession. I shared the desire of cooperation with your Prime Minister Lee Keqiang and we reached a consensus. Although the political centers of the two countries are far away from each other, the gap of territory is huge, and there is little prerequisite for cooperation, we still established in-depth relations even to the level of cities.
Belarus advocates equal, impartial and multilateral international order, which is also the foundation of further development. China and Belarus have exactly the same position on this issue. Only a multilateral order could keep the world from being destroyed. No system will survive with only one pillar.
Yesterday I just told Xi that, China is one of the pillars, so that the raise of China is appropriate. China is applying pragmatism in its development, which is also the consistent foreign policy of Belarus. To promote people’s living standard, guarantee the domestic safety, and improve neighborly relations, we both implement pragmatism as a principal. Belarus locates at the geographic center of Europe, crossroad of the Eurasia, where the interests of the biggest countries in the world flow together, leading to the formation of frontier of the clash of civilizations. Belarus does not have wild ambition in geographic politics. We act as a island and mediator for the countries from all sides. In the Ukraine crisis, Belarus became the platform of negotiation, reflecting our goal of becoming a factor of promoting stability, which was appreciated by many other countries. We also would like to become a geographic pivot for the economic interests of not only ourselves but also the Commonwealth of the Independent States(CIS).
We participated in many projects integration, which reflects the future of Europe and Eurasia. As one of the founders of Eurasian Economic Union, Belarus would like to eliminate the estrangements between different countries for interest complementary, and also for the greater welfare of people from all countries.
In 2011 Belarus proposed the idea of integration, at the same time, the whole world was shock by Silk Road Initiative raised by China. We strongly hope to see the conversation and delicate joint actions between the two countries. Yesterday I had a conversation with Xi, we all acknowledged the importance of such proposal, and more importantly, the butting with the Eurasian economic union.
In the post Soviet Union era, Belarus believes that to achieve economic and investment interest, it is very significant to promote the cooperation among Eurasian economic union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, European Union, and ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Belarus is the westernmost country in the members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, so it is actually a door to Europe for Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The cooperation with China is also one of the priorities of Belarus’ foreign policy.
Belarus developed diplomatic relations with China twenty years ago, on January, 20th, 1992. In twenty years, which is much shorter compared with other countries, we have upgraded our relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperative relationship. Only four countries have such imitate relations which China including Belarus, so we feel very proud about that.
However, up to 2015, the bilateral trade volume has reached 30 billion dollars, which is far from the potential. We should amplify bilateral trade volume between not only the center governments but also among regions. In terms of economics cooperation, we have done many efforts and created many conditions. We also raised ideas of peaceful coexist and supported each other, which is our another contribution to the global order.
We have more similarities in the history than our assumption. China has been invaded by Japan, while Belarus also suffered humiliation under the aggression of Facist, one third of population sacrificed in the war and more than 2000 cities and villages experienced the same fate as Nanjing. There is an old saying in China,”Every man alive has a duty to his country’s fate”. After the transition, Belarus found the best road of national development on the basis of Soviet Union’s heritage. This pattern is context specific and effective, leading to high standard of social security, solving of food security problem, and self satisfaction of domestic production. In the post Soviet Union era, Belarus is in the leading position of many fields. Our education and sanitation capital per capita are all in the top 30. We focused on industrial developed, worked with the best manufacturers in the world and achieved many accomplishments, such as tournatractor, tractor, TV, refrigerator, clothing, etc. We meet wide demands domestically and abroad.
Meanwhile, in terms of high technology, we also consider it is the current global trend and the future of humankind. We invest in nuclear energy, spaceflight, bioengineering, and emphasize on green technology. You may have already discovered that, our direction and tendency is consistent with the world, trying not to fall behind the global trend.
Although our population make up only 1% of the global population, our export in terms of agriculture and water products play a decisive role. The output of potash fertilizer makes up twenty percent of the world’s total amount. Our flax, fiber, sugar, oil and beef are all important export products. 17% combine-harvesters in the world are from Belarus.
In terms of sustainable development, we also have advanced high technology. For software development, we are in the top ten; our capital per capita of the research in information technology is in the second place all over the world. We know that the future lies in creativity, knowledge and technology, which is also the basis of our next five year plan.
Currently Belarus’ development strategy is based on market economy, with the acknowledge of significance of nation states. In the process, the cooperation between Belarus and China is at the symbolic position. We started many large high-technology projects, such as satellite launching in Xichang, reconstruction of railway and highroad, construction of modern housing system, especially the industry park, attracting enterprises from all over the world. Nowadays, this region has become a logistics center and green zone. Many advanced technologies are used to show the world the increasing technological level of China. The China-Belarus industry park has become a genuine bright pearl in the Silk Road.
I just discussed with Xi and Lee about the industry park yesterday. This industry park should become a model, showing those developed European countries what today’s China looks like, as there are a lot of rumors about the development of China and China’s enhancement of influence.
The world is a highly competitive one. Silk Road is a right strategy, making the countries along the way become China’s close friends. Meanwhile, China also offer generous help to these countries. On the other hand, establishing exemplary science park in the middle of Europe let European countries realize the validity of this strategy, thereby enhance cooperation with China. I sincerely wish the successful implementation of this initiative.
Recently, our conversation with China has come to a new level. We came up with new joint declaration and confirmed our mutual beneficial and cooperative relations, especially in the field of economic and trade. On September 1st, 2016, 34 export companies signed contrasts with China to export dairy products, making up 20% of China’s diary products consumption. We are very confident that Belarus is one of the best dairy producers. Next step for us is to export poultry, especially beef to China and satisfy Chinese people’s demand.
We all know that to achieve a great goal, we need efforts from both sides. You can never clap with one hand. It’s my ninth time visiting China,and every time I come, I feel like visiting a new country. I really admire your progress.
This is also the first time that I deliver a speech in front of Chinese university students. I have great expectations to your Chairman Xi. More and more education projects between Belarus and China are being established. Now we have about two hundred bilateral education programs and three Confucius Institutes in Belarus. I hope the friendship between Belarus and China would be deepen and consolidated in the future. Wish you all have bright future.
After President Lukashenko’s speech, the President opened the floor to questions from the audience. He hoped to better understand the faculty and students of PKU and help them better understand Belarus. After the President answered a few student’s questions, Chairman Zhu and President Lukashenko exchanged gifts.
Written by: Huang Fangyuan
Speech Transcribed by: Wei Yuchen
Edited by: Dohun Na & Zhu Jieyun
Photos by: Li Xianghua