SCMP: Belarus protests cast shadow over China’s Belt and Road ambitions as Lukashenko refuses to relinquish power

Thu August, 2020, Age: 2 years

China’s economic presence in Belarus has grown in recent years as it looks to increase its influence throughout Eurasia and Lukashenko has sought a closer relationship with Beijing to offset a historical dependence on Russia. China’s total foreign direct investment in Belarus grew to US$450.3 million in 2019, according to the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, substantially lower than the country’s main trade partner Russia, which spent US$4.5 billion. But in 2016, China agreed to lend US$7 billion to Belarus through credit lines, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, is one of the most vocal supporters of the belt and road strategy among European leaders and has overseen a surge in trade with China.
China’s growing influence in Belarus through its Belt and Road Initiative could be derailed as mass demonstrations triggered by a disputed presidential election grip the Eastern European country, analysts say.

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