Experts and scholars worldwide hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping's just concluded visit to Belarus, saying it would greatly boost the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and bring about new opportunities for pragmatic cooperation between the two countries and beyond.[Special coverage]
Xi wrapped up his three-day state visit to Belarus on Tuesday, the first by a Chinese head of state in 14 years.
The Chinese president's visit is of significant importance to Minsk as China not only respects Belarus, but also brings it much-needed projects and funds, said Tatiana, an economic news editor at the Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA).
It has laid the foundation for the future breakthrough of China-Belarus cooperation, said Sergey Kizima, head of the International Relations Department of the Academy of Public Administration (APA) under the aegis of Belarusian president.
The cooperation agreements signed during the visit would create lots of job opportunities for Belarus and facilitate the entry of Belarusian products to the Chinese market, Kizima added.
Irina Novikova, head of the Department of Economic Theory at the APA, said that the China-initiated Silk Road Economic Belt is directly beneficial for the development of Belarusian logistics, transportation and telecommunication.
On the other hand, the economic belt provided China with a transit platform to the markets of Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and European Union countries, Novikova added.
Pavel Lis, deputy vice-rector of the Research and Development Department at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, said Xi's visit is significant for bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of education and technology.
Alexander Gusev, director of the Center for Strategic Development of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Countries, said the visit confirmed that Belarus has been China's strategic partner, and its importance for Beijing will only increase, taking into account the Chinese project of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
China-Belarus trade now amounts to 4.5 billion U.S. dollars. This is considerable amount of money for Belarus, Gusev said.
Belarus is a "docking module" between China and the European Union and the China-Belarus joint Industrial Park "Great Stone" is an important step to carry out that docking, he added.
Belarus, a country along the Silk Road Economic Belt as well as a member of EEC, could serve as a bridge between the Belt and the EEC, said Dzhumakadrov Akeneev, a renowned economist of Kyrgyzstan.
Further and stronger cooperation between China and Belarus will greatly advance the construction of the Belt and the EEC, and benefit not only China and Belarus, but also Kyrgyzstan and other EEC members, the economist said.
Qian Feng, vice president of the Asia News Time of Thailand also said Xi's visit has made Belarus and the whole world feel that China, as a big country, is making great efforts for and contributions to the joint building of a new type of international relations of cooperation and common development.
The strategic significance of the Belt is increasingly understood and welcomed by key countries along it, he said.
Belarus stands at a key point on the Silk Road Economic Belt, and its economy will gain a lot, he added.
The visit to Belarus not only enhanced mutual trust between the leaders of the two countries, but will also facilitate bilateral economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges, said Cha Jae-bok, a top researcher with the South Korean think-tank, the Northeast Asian History Foundation.
A currency swap agreement worth 7 billion yuan (1.15 billion dollars) signed by the central banks of the two countries will further boost bilateral trade and investment, Cha said.
Geologically, Belarus is very important to the Silk Road Economic Belt initiated by China, said Alvin Cheng-Hin Lim, a research fellow with the Longus Institute for Development and Strategy.
Located between Europe and Asia, the China-Belarus Industrial Park in Belarus will provide a shortcut for Chinese enterprises to enter European markets, while greatly helping boost the construction of "the Road and Belt," the researcher said.
The Daily of Mexico noted that the economic integration among China,Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will greatly boost the EEC as well as the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt.