Xi to attend BRICS summit

By Li Hao in Johannesburg and Li Ruohan in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/24 23:08:39

BRICS a leading voice for developing nations


South Africa could be a frontier leader of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, as the two countries are expected to enjoy higher political trust and wider cooperation following Chinese President Xi Jinping's third state visit to the African country, Chinese analysts said Tuesday.

Xi arrived in Pretoria, the executive capital of South Africa, Monday night local time. This state visit is the first of its kind South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has hosted since he took office in February, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The two leaders 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.

Xi said that over the past 20 years, China-South Africa relations have developed in an all-round and in-depth way, leaping from a partnership to a strategic partnership and then to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Xinhua reported.

"China and South Africa enjoy high political trust. The latter could be a pioneer in the  implementation of the China-proposed Belt and Road in Africa," Deng Yanting, an assistant research fellow in West-Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China will also provide strong support for the country's  modernization and industrialization. Its 40-year experience of implementing its opening-up policy could help South Africa's progress in various industries, said Deng.

Diverse cooperation

The two countries have witnessed increasing practical cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and strategic coordination in recent years.

At present, China is South Africa's largest trading partner and South Africa is China's largest trading partner in Africa, according to Chinese official statistics.

Bilateral trade amounted to more than $39 billion in 2017, 26 times greater than in 1998, when the two countries established diplomatic ties.

Last week, Tong Ren Tang, a Beijing-headquartered Chinese company, offered free consultations on traditional Chinese medicines to residents at a local community in Johannesburg, attracting hundreds of local people.

Such activities offer local people a more diverse understanding of China, Zhong Peng, managing director of Tong Reng Tan's branches in South Africa, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Around 80 percent of the company's clients in its five stores in South Africa are local people. According to store staffers, the most popular treatment is acupuncture for treating back and leg pains.   

The activities also bring the two peoples closer, as traditional Chinese medicine bears many similarities to local medicines, including a shared philosophy of trusting the power of natural products, said Zhong.

In people-to-people exchanges, South Africa hosts the largest number of Chinese students and Confucius Institutes in Africa, and the Chinese language has become part of the nation's educational curricula, Xinhua reported. 



United bloc


Xi is scheduled to attend the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg from Wednesday to Friday. It will be the sixth consecutive time for the Chinese president to attend such meetings.

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, Xinhua reported.

Days ahead of the event, friendliness toward Chinese could easily be found and felt in Johannesburg.

Workers arranging the venue for the BRICS  summit spontaneously performed a local dance and asked for a group photo after spotting Chinese reporters on Tuesday.

A Global Times reporter was greeted with "Ni Hao," meaning hello in Chinese, when entering a local hotel. The BRICS summit will include the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The organization has given a stronger voice to developing countries on the global stage, as the countries are not only a major engine of world economic growth, but also contributors to regional cooperation, said Deng. 

As the US launches trade frictions with major economies in the world, it is increasingly necessary for developing countries to enhance cooperation and reduce dependency on developed economies, said experts.

Western countries often hold a condescending attitude and care more about their own profits, but China stresses mutual respect and sustainable development of its African partners, said Deng. 



Posted in: POLITICS,DIPLOMACY

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