Xi's South Africa visit to further energize BRICS cooperation, bilateral ties: Chinese embassy

At the invitation of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to attend the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and pay a state visit to the country from August 21 to 24, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

It will be the Chinese president's first offline participation in a BRICS leaders' meeting and first visit to Africa since the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2022.

Xi's visit and meetings will further energize the BRICS mechanism and usher in a new phase of China-South Africa ties and China-Africa cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong said on Friday.

Injecting new energy into BRICS cooperation

The 15th BRICS Summit is the first offline meeting of the BRICS leaders for three years. It will be the third BRICS summit to be held in Africa and first on the continent in five years.

Noting China firmly supports South Africa in hosting the BRICS leaders' meeting, Ambassador Chen told reporters that the president will attend the meeting and take part in a series of activities including BRICS' informal meetings and BRICS-plus leaders' dialogues, have in-depth exchanges of views on strengthening BRICS unity and cooperation, and promote the expansion of the group's membership.

BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has become an important platform for global cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries after 17 years of development.

In March 2013, Xi, as the Chinese president, attended the BRICS summit for the first time in Durban, South Africa. In the following 10 years, Xi has joined forces with leaders of other BRICS members to push the BRICS summits to produce a series of pioneering initiatives.

During this year's summit, Xi will work with the participating leaders to actively explore cooperation projects that meet the development needs of the five countries and are in the common interests of their people, lay out the direction and ideas of cooperation in areas including energy, economy, trade and agriculture, and explore the establishment of cooperation mechanisms for young people and people with disabilities, according to Chen.

The latest data shows that in the first seven months of this year, China's total imports and exports to other BRICS countries reached 2.38 trillion yuan ($330 billion), a year-on-year increase of 19.1 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs of China on Monday.

"China expects and believes that the reunion of President Xi and the leaders of the BRICS countries in South Africa will achieve important results and inject new energy into BRICS cooperation," said Chen.

China-South Africa relations at new starting point

Xi's state visit to South Africa, his fourth official visit to the country and first in five years, is of great significance to bilateral ties, as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Noting China and South Africa have forged a special bond of "comrades plus brothers," Chen said that bilateral relations have made leapfrog development from strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership, and have become a model for China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation.

China has maintained its position as South Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years, while South Africa has been China's largest trading partner in Africa for 13 consecutive years.

During the visit, Xi and Ramaphosa will issue a joint statement to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership and build a high-level China-South Africa community with a shared future, leading bilateral relations to a new starting point, said Chen.

The two presidents will also be devoted to advancing the deep synergy of joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and South Africa's economic recovery plan, focusing on strengthening cooperation in the fields of energy infrastructure, trade and investment, and will sign a series of agreements related to trade, electricity, science and technology cooperation, according to Chen.

In terms of international cooperation, Chen said major international and regional issues will be discussed in depth by the two presidents, who will intensify coordination and cooperation with each other in international affairs and multilateral institutions, be committed to upholding global fairness and justice, support the peace and development of all countries, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

While in South Africa, Xi will co-chair the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue with Ramaphosa.

After the dialogue, Xi, along with Ramaphosa and other participating leaders, will issue a joint statement, elaborating on strengthening China-Africa solidarity and cooperation, enhancing mutual support on issues related to each other's core interests, and achieving common development and win-win cooperation, said Chen, adding China will announce practical initiatives in support of Africa's industrialization, agricultural modernization, and the training of Chinese and African talents.

"China looks forward to taking the dialogue as an opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views with the African side on promoting traditional friendship, consolidating political mutual trust, strengthening strategic communication and deepening practical cooperation, comprehensively laying out the development of China-Africa relations in the new era, and to open a new chapter in building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future," said Chen.

(Cover: National flags of BRICS countries. /CFP)

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