BRICS summit begins in Xiamen, China as leaders of five countries gather to discuss economics and politics
Leaders of Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil have gathered in Xiamen, China, where the 9th BRICS summit is being held.
BRICS is an informal association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The group, founded in June 2006 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, seeks to ensure sustainable, open and transparent dialogue and cooperation between member states. The first BRICS summit was held in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 2009.
The heads of states and governments attended an official photograph session before the session. During the photograph session the host of the summit, China’s President Xi Jinping, took the place in the center with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Michel Temer on his right-hand side and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the left-hand side of China’s leader.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told the meeting that there is little to fear from closer trade ties. “We should push for an open world economy, promote trade liberalization and facilitation, jointly create a new global value chain, and realize a global economic rebalancing,” President Xi Jinping told Brics business leaders and senior officials in a speech on Sunday.
Another topic being discussed on the summit is China’s One Belt Road project, which aims to connect China’s east coast with Europe, through Russia and Central Asia.
The project aims to expand trade links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond through infrastructure investments. “I am convinced that the Belt and Road initiative will serve as a new platform for all countries to achieve win-win cooperation,” said President Xi.
But the initiative has made India in particular quite uneasy, as it includes projects worth $62bn (£48bn) to be implemented in its neighbor and rival Pakistan. Also, tensions between China and India remain high after a border standoff, which was resolved just days before the conference.
The conference had an unwelcome surprise in the form of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sunday. China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the Brics meeting, and agreed to “appropriately deal” with North Korea’s nuclear test.
China said it strongly condemned the nuclear test and urged Pyongyang to stop its “wrong” actions. The US President suggested on Twitter that the US might stop “all trade with any country doing business with North Korea”.