Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said the Global South should wield more influence, in remarks ahead of a summit with other BRICS leaders aimed at boosting their heft on the world stage.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said the Global South should wield more influence, in remarks ahead of a summit with other BRICS leaders aimed at boosting their heft on the world stage.
Speaking separately on Tuesday, the comments emphasized points of unity among Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ahead of a gathering that will debate topics on which they lack agreement, including how membership of the bloc should be expanded.
“We should practice multilateralism and work towards giving a boost to countries in the Global South,” Xi told a joint briefing in Pretoria with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa following a state visit. “We believe our countries should be strategic partners, we should deepen political mutual trust.”
BRICS leaders are also expected to discuss how they can increase direct trade in their own currencies and possibly hold tentative talks on introducing a common unit – an idea that hasn’t gained traction so far.
While the dollar’s demise as the world’s reserve currency has been mooted many times in recent years, so far other pretenders have been competing among themselves and there’s no evidence of a structural dollar decline.
Xi Says China to Buy More From South Africa (2:37 p.m.)
Xi also said that China is ready to import more “quality products” from South Africa and that it would deepen bilateral cooperation in electricity, new energy and innovation, while encouraging Chinese companies to invest in Africa’s most industrialized nation.
“We believe our countries should be strategic partners, we should deepen political mutual trust,” Xi told his host. “We support substantive progress in G20 and support South Africa employing a greater role. Under current circumstances it is important to step up,” he said.
Brazil’s Lula Says BRICS Won’t be Taken for Granted (2:08 p.m.)
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said BRICS was not seeking to oppose the G-7, G-20 or US, but would not be undervalued.
“We were always treated as if we were the poor part of the planet, as if we didn’t exist,” he said in an interview with state television in Johannesburg. “We were always treated like we were second rate and suddenly we are realizing that we can become important countries”, he said.
Lula pledged support to add more members to the BRICS club, saying Indonesia may be accepted during the summit. The Brazilian president is also seeking the backing of China and Russia to his request for representation on the United Nations Security Council.
Indian Prime Minister Modi Arrives for Leaders Meeting (1:57 p.m.)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at an airforce base near Pretoria. He will hold bilateral meetings with some of the leaders, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. Chen Xiaodong, China’s ambassador to South Africa, last week said that he’s “confident” Modi and President Xi Jinping will meet.
Read more: The China-India Border Dispute Bedeviling Ties
The Indian leader will also attend the BRICS–Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue meetings, according to the statement.
Saudi Foreign Minister to Attend Summit (1 p.m.)
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud is traveling to South Africa on Tuesday on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement issued by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The prince is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit with members of participating countries.
The statement didn’t mention Saudi Arabia’s potential membership of BRICS, something which several countries in the bloc have been pushing as part of the expansion discussions.
German Foreign Minister Questions BRICS Accommodation of Putin (12:40 p.m.)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock questioned how BRICS could accommodate Russian President Vladimir Putin, given his decision to halt grain exports via the Black Sea.
“It’s pointless to have a close cooperation within BRICS with a Russian president who has at the same time bombed the grain deal,” she said, while dismissing the notion that a more assertive BRICS could sow global divisions.
“In these times all nations in the world see the importance of cooperation and partnership,” she told reporters in Berlin. “We support freedom of cooperation and partnership. So all nations of the world are free to choose with whom they want to work. It’s completely right that more countries demand a voice. It can’t only be the big countries of the world who decide how the global international order is designed.”
Premature for South Africa to Stop Using Dollar, Swift, Finance Minister Says (12:26 p.m.)
BRICS leaders are set to debate how they can reduce their reliance on the dollar during the summit, but officials are downplaying any suggestion that the greenback’s dominant role will diminish any time soon.
“The current debate is how do we finance projects in each of the BRICS member states in their own currencies,” South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told reporters in Pretoria. It was premature for South Africa to consider withdrawing from the SWIFT global payment system or limit its dollar usage, he said.
–With assistance from Simone Iglesias, S’thembile Cele, Colleen Goko, Paul Vecchiatto, Ilya Arkhipov, Sudhi Ranjan Sen and Iain Rogers.
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