Xi in S. Africa ahead of BRICS meet

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in South Africa for a state visit ahead of a summit of leaders of the BRICS economies. 

From left: China president's wife Peng Liyuan, China President Xi Jinping, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, his wife Tshepo Motsepe pose for photographers at the government Union Building in Pretoria, on July 24, 2018. Jinping is in the country to attend the three-day BRICS Summit starting on July 25 in Johannesburg. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in South Africa for a state visit ahead of a summit of leaders of the BRICS economies. 

South Africa rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese President on Monday as Xi started his third state visit to the “rainbow nation” with the aim of boosting bilateral friendly relations and cooperation.

Xi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will hold talks in Pretoria to draw a new blueprint for further developing bilateral relations, and attend celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of their countries’ diplomatic relations.

Upon arrival, Xi said that in the past 20 years, China-South Africa relations have developed from a partnership to the current comprehensive strategic partnership.

South Africa is China’s largest trading partner in Africa, according to Chinese official statistics.

“I look forward to having an in-depth exchange of views with President Ramaphosa on bilateral relations, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as well as international and regional issues of common concern, so as to jointly elevate China-South Africa relations to a new high and bring greater benefits to our two peoples,” he said.

Xi is also scheduled to attend the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg on July 25-27. 

BRICS gathers the world’s five major emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“I hope to discuss cooperation and development with the leaders of other BRICS members, African countries, and other emerging-market countries and developing countries, in order to lift the solidarity and cooperation between developing countries to a new level and make greater contributions to promoting world peace and development,” Xi said.

Xi will attend the BRICS Business Forum, leaders’ meetings, and an informal meeting to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the BRICS summit mechanism. He will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries on the sidelines of the summit.

South Africa is the fourth stop of Xi’s five-nation Middle East and Africa tour, which has taken him to the United Arab Emirates, Senegal and Rwanda.

He will also visit Mauritius during a stopover.

The Johannesburg Summit to be held at the city’s Sandton Convention Center is themed “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.” It will gather leaders from the bloc’s five members to discuss measures responding to global challenges.

Presidents of several African countries are also invited to attend a dialogue under the BRICS framework on external cooperation.

At a news briefing on Monday in Johannesburg, South Africa Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu said the foreign ministers of the bloc issued a joint statement in June, calling for BRICS countries to stand together to fight the new wave of protectionism and promote rules-based multilateralism with the centrality of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and international law.

Luwellyn Landers, South Africa’s deputy foreign minister, said, BRICS has both the opportunity and responsibility to transform the lives of the vast number of people it represents. Collectively, the five BRICS members represent about 40 percent of the global population and a quarter of the world economy.

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