Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a leaders’ dinner hosted by his South African counterpart on Tuesday after skipping an earlier scheduled appearance at a business forum.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a leaders’ dinner hosted by his South African counterpart on Tuesday after skipping an earlier scheduled appearance at a business forum.
Xi arrived at the dinner along with the leaders of Brazil and India, and Russia’s foreign minister, who are all in Johannesburg for the annual BRICS summit of emerging market powers.
Xi had earlier skipped a forum where he was scheduled to deliver a speech, sending Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao instead.
The Chinese president met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during a state visit earlier Tuesday, and called on the two countries to boost their combined influence on international affairs in the Global South.
At a joint briefing Tuesday, Xi said China and South Africa will deepen bilateral cooperation in electricity, new energy and scientific and technological innovation. China will continue to encourage its companies to invest and operate in South Africa, Xi said.
Read More: Xi Urges South Africa to Work With China to Boost BRICS’ Clout
Beijing has been pushing for the expansion of BRICS, an attempt to extend the group’s clout on the world stage and challenge the US-led status quo. While South Africa and Russia back the addition of new members, India is wary of the group becoming a mouthpiece for China, and Brazil is worried about alienating the West.
The trip marks only Xi’s second international travel this year, with mounting domestic problems keeping him at home. Prior to his visit to South Africa, he has spent just two days abroad so far in 2023, when he visited Russia. That’s the least number of days in any first half of a year since he took power more than a decade ago, excluding the Covid-19 pandemic.
–With assistance from S’thembile Cele.
(Updates with joint briefing in fifth paragraph. An earlier version of this story had an incorrect reference to President Xi’s title)
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