On Tuesday President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus left Beijing after his state visit to China was over. Before his departure Lukashenko had a meeting with Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Zhu Rongji to discuss prospects for the development of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. In the course of the negotiations the sides noted that the trade turnover between Belarus and the People's Republic of China was gradually on the increase and made up $186.3 million last year, still it falls short as yet of the two countries' actual potential. Prior to that Lukashenko met with Chairman of the People's Republic of China Jiang Zemin, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese parliament Li Peng and Beijing Mayor Liu Qi. The leaders of the two countries signed a joint statement which proclaims the parties' readiness "to persevere with consolidation of the traditional friendship, extension of mutually advantageous cooperation and constructive partnership on international issues." Six bilateral agreements were signed in conclusion of the negotiations. Before leaving Beijing, Alexander Lukashenko visited an exhibition of paintings by Belarussian artists, which is affiliated to the Days of Belarussian Culture currently running in the Chinese capital.
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