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Visit marks progress to fairer world

《中国日报》 2023-08-28

President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug 24, 2023. Xi co-chaired with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue here on Thursday. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping's recent state visit to South Africa and his attendance at the 15th BRICS Summit are proof of the noticeable and fresh progress made by emerging markets and developing economies toward building a fairer and just global governance system, senior officials and experts said.

Xi had a packed yet productive diplomatic schedule from Tuesday to Thursday in South Africa as he attended and addressed a slew of wide-ranging multilateral meetings and held bilateral talks.

In addition to his state visit to South Africa in its administrative capital, Pretoria, and attending the annual gathering of BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — in Johannesburg, Xi also co-chaired the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Hailing the trip as bearing strategic significance, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the tour highlights China's consistent approach to embracing Africa and the whole world, carries forward the traditional China-Africa friendship, consolidates fresh consensus for South-South cooperation, and injects positivity into the pursuit of peace and development.

The expansion of membership means BRICS is now embarking on a new journey. The China-Africa community with a shared future enjoys new connotations, and the strategic mutual trust between China and South Africa is reaching new heights, he added.

The visit is another successful practice of Xi Jinping's Thought on Diplomacy and demonstrates China's global vision, Wang told reporters at the conclusion of the trip.

Currently, the 17-year-old BRICS represents more than 40 percent of the world's population and a quarter of the world's economic output, and this years' BRICS events engaged leaders from more than 60 countries.

Wang noted that last year, with the push from China — the rotating president of BRICS — the grouping launched its expansion process, ushering in a major development opportunity for the BRICS mechanism.

During the South Africa trip, President Xi attended BRICS events and made several important speeches, continuing to promote and lead the momentum of BRICS development, Wang added.

The BRICS summit on Thursday made the landmark decision to invite Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Iran and Ethiopia to the BRICS family as official members.

Assem Hanafi, Egyptian ambassador to China, said: BRICS is a representation of the Global South. It is an important instrument whereby developing countries and emerging economies integrate their political and economic efforts to give themselves more voice, more representation in the current global architecture.

The expansion of BRICS is a natural and expected one. … China, along with other states, gives BRICS an added impact on the world scene, he said in a recent interview with People's Daily.

Wu Xinbo, dean of Fudan University's Institute of International Studies,said, In recent years, some developed countries have worked on building up their cliques such as the Group of Seven for their own selfish interests, while the lawful interests of developing countries have been disregarded and the role of emerging economies has been further marginalized.

BRICS is one of the most important cooperation platforms that serves a vast number of Global South countries, and a bigger and stronger BRICS in effect helps promote and deepen South-South cooperation, Wu said.

At the summit, Xi unveiled China's planned actions for advancing BRICS cooperation, such as setting up a China-BRICS Science and Innovation Incubation Park for the New Era and jointly establishing a BRICS Framework on Industrial Cooperation for Sustainable Development.

As the world's second-largest economy and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China should continue to work with other BRICS countries to boost the voice and influence of developing countries in global economic governance, Wu said.

At the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue held on Thursday evening, President Xi announced three major moves to chart the course for China-Africa practical cooperation in the next stage and assist in Africa's integration and modernization — the Initiative on Supporting Africa's Industrialization, the Plan for China Supporting Africa's Agricultural Modernization, and the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development.

African leaders attending Thursday's dialogue said that China's help and cooperation have vigorously promoted the development of African countries and their integration process, and that China is a true friend of African countries and a partner they can rely on when they encounter difficulties.

At the meeting, the African leaders voiced firm support for the Xi-proposed Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative, and said that they will continue to actively promote the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road.

The solid progress of Africa's integration and the desirable development of China and Africa's own modernization undertakings surely will provide fresh fuel for the world's economic growth and contribute positivity to international fairness and justice, said Wang, the foreign minister.

He added that the joint statement issued by the dialogue charts a road map for the development of China-Africa relations in the new era.

Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department of American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that what Xi has emphasized is that in China's eyes, it is the opportunities and fruits of development that should be shared among countries.

We have seen countries interested in the Chinese path to modernization. China is also willing and ready to share its experience in poverty reduction and the benefits brought by infrastructure construction. It inspires a lot of countries, especially developing countries, she said.

Xi's state visit to South Africa marked his fourth to the country as president as well as the only state visit arranged during this years' BRICS events.

The foreign minister said that the visit yielded a bumper harvest, noting that the two leaders witnessed the signing of a slew of cooperation agreements.

Wang Fan, president of China Foreign Affairs University, noted that the two countries are like-minded partners who weather the storms together, and they are both striding on their own paths toward modernization.