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BELARUS PRESIDENT LUKASHENKO RETURNS TO CHINA AND SEEK STRONGER TIES

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko met China's leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday for the second time this year, with the diplomatically isolated leader talking up his country's economic ties to the Asian giant amid biting Western sanctions.

The close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a "working visit" to the Chinese capital and was received by Xi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse for a "working lunch" and three hours of talks. Lukashenko, the president of Belarus since 1994, backed Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 by allowing Moscow to use its territory to launch the war, but is faced with a crippled economy that is heavily reliant on trade with Russia.

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