China invites leaders of five more countries to BRICS summit

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/30 19:28:40

China has invited the leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand to the upcoming BRICS summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

The model of BRICS Plus, which is an expansion of BRICS, is meant to "strengthen dialogue cooperation between BRICS nations and other emerging markets and developing countries, to promote the establishment of broader partnerships and to foster mutual development and prosperity on a larger scale," Wang said at a press conference in Beijing. 

He noted that China has invited leaders of the five countries to attend the BRICS summit in Xiamen to discuss South-South Cooperation and other plans for international development.

"They each come from a different region and have their own unique characteristics, which will give this dialogue a broader representation," he said.

Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, said these five countries were chosen based on their closeness with China, their regional economic or political influence, and whether their leaders are available during the summit.

"Most of these countries are important regional players. For example, Egypt is a leading country in northern Africa and has much political sway in the Middle East. So is Thailand in Southeast Asia and Mexico in Latin America. Tajikistan is China's strategic partner, which also plays an important role in China's border security," Qian told the Global Times.

Meanwhile, Guinea is this year's chair of the African Union and is one of the first African nations to receive Chinese aid. It is rich in natural resources and has developed a close partnership with China politically and in trade, according to He Wenping, a research fellow at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - is recognized as an important force in global governance. China holds the BRICS presidency this year where Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to chair the BRICS summit in Xiamen, Fujian Province from September 3 to 5.

Evolving group

Lu Yang, an assistant researcher at Tsinghua University's Belt and Road Strategic Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday that it is common practice for the BRICS host country to invite neighboring countries to the summit, and China had been expected to invite Southeast Asian or Central Asian nations.

When India was BRICS host in 2016, leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand were invited to the summit.

Lu said the BRICS Plus is a sign that the BRICS mechanism is evolving.

"I believe these five countries were carefully chosen to represent different regions. It will also be easier for BRICS members, which come from different continents, to engage with them," Lu noted.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi told Chinese media before his trip to China that "Our participation in the meetings with the BRICS countries is of great importance, especially as Egypt enjoys promising economic possibilities and provides an outstanding strategic location that can help it effectively support the BRICS community and its priorities," the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

"The visit will also provide a good opportunity to follow up on joint projects in various fields, taking into account the contribution of Chinese companies to several ongoing infrastructure projects in Egypt, including the new administrative capital project, electricity and energy development projects and transportation," Sisi noted.



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