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Why does China invest in Belarus?
Design of a new stadium in Minsk.
On June 30, the construction of "Chinese gifts" officially began in Minsk: a new football stadium and a swimming pool built to "international standard". The construction of sports facilities will cost about $180 million. China will pay. There is a logical question: why does China need it? After all, the Chinese do not like stranded investments.
Belarus is not the first country to receive a football stadium as a gift from China. Over the last 50 years, China has built more than 60 sports arenas in the Third World countries. This phenomenon has even received the name -- "stadium diplomacy".
Most Chinese stadiums are located in Africa. The purpose of expensive gifts in this region is to get the right to implement mining projects. For example, after the construction of several sports facilities in Angola, China became the world's largest importer of crude oil from that country.
Also after the "Chinese gifts" some countries, such as Costa Rica, stopped cooperating with Taiwan. In other words, the construction of free stadiums was often accompanied by political and economic agreements between governments.
What will China get in return from Belarus? It's not that obvious here. Our country is not rich in natural resources. Experts say it is most likely "an image investment that will help China change the cautious attitude to Chinese investment and tourists".
By the way, a lot of projects with the participation of China are already being implemented in our country. For example, the BelGEE Automobile Plant, the Great Stone Industrial Park, a residential complex in Lebyazhye, Shanter Hill Hotel and Business Complex, the Beijing Hotel, and others.
Gifts for Belarus - some of the most expensive ones
The National Football Stadium, which will be located in Vaneyeva Street, and the swimming pool on Kalvaryiskaya Street will cost China about 180 million dollars. This is one of the most expensive gifts from China. Sports arenas in African countries cost it mainly 60-80 million dollars.
The national football stadium is designed for 33 thousand spectators. The pitch will meet FIFA requirements, its size will be 105 by 68 meters. There will be made a system of auto watering and heating to care for the natural grass cover. The total area of the arena will be 48 thousand square meters, its height will be 38.6 meters.
The swimming pool has a capacity of 6 thousand seats and will include stands, rooms for spectators, athletes, as well as a VIP room. The total building area is approximately 40 thousand square meters.
The stadium and swimming pool will be designed and constructed according to Chinese standards, norms, and specifications, in compliance with FIFA and UEFA specifications and recommendations.
"I asked Xi Jinping, my friend, to build it with Chinese flavor, so that everyone, not only Belarusians, could see that this is a model of friendship with the Chinese people," Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on November 17, 2017, when it was reported about plans to build a national football stadium.
Are the arenas, which China has built in other countries, also made with Chinese flavor? In our opinion, they are mostly do not stand out by their exclusive design.
Both the new national football stadium and the swimming pool in Minsk should be completed in 2023.