Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko has thanked China for its support during "difficult times" at a meeting with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan.
"You have always been not only a solid and reliable friend for us but a serious support in these difficult times," Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told Xi, according to Belarus state media.
Belarus has been hit with a wave of Western penalties for acting as a launching pad for Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
"You know as well as I do what times these are," Lukashenko said, according to state news agency, Belta. "We have always supported China on all matters of principle, such as economic growth, unity, integrity of China, the 'One China' policy.”
"We are reliable friends. Whatever it may cost us," he added.
Xinhua news agency, meanwhile, reported the two heads of state spoke highly of the achievements made in cooperation in various fields since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties three decades years ago.
The report added the two sides firmly support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests, including sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
Xi's visit to Central Asia is his first trip abroad since the early days of the pandemic.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, whose leaders convened in Uzbekistan for the summit, comprises China, India, Pakistan, Russia and Central Asian nations. Belarus is an observer state. (Xinhua/AFP)