Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday urged BRICS countries to deepen strategic partnership and work to open up a second “Golden Decade” at the Plenary Session of the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The session, hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, was also attended by Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Delivering a speech titled “Turn Our Vision into a Reality,” Xi pointed out the outstanding features of the new industrial revolution and put forward initiatives on the future development of the BRICS cooperation.
Xi pointed out that the three industrial revolutions since the 18th century have profoundly reshaped the course of human history. Today, people are experiencing another revolution in technology and industry, which is greater in scope and depth. While new technologies, business models and industries are emerging, the destinies and interests of countries around the world are tied together.
Meanwhile, deep-seated structural problems, geopolitical conflicts, protectionism and unilateralism are directly affecting the external development environment of emerging markets and developing countries, said Xi.
He stressed that the BRICS countries should have a keen grasp of the trend of times, deepen their strategic partnership, and consolidate their cooperation framework driven by three wheels of economic, political and security cooperation and people-to-people exchanges to turn the vision of a second “Golden Decade” into a reality.
Xi put forward four points in his speech. First is to unlock the enormous potential of economic cooperation. Xi called on BRICS countries to enhance cooperation in areas including investment, financial and connectivity, and to safeguard the rule-based multilateral trading regime, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and reject protectionism outright.
He also stressed to insist innovation-driven development and build a BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) while strengthening the policy coordination in macro economy to improve the competitiveness of BRICS countries and other emerging markets and developing countries.
Second is to firmly safeguard international peace and security. Xi said the BRICS countries should stay committed to multilateralism and to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter while calling on all parties to abide by international laws and basic norms governing international relations, and to settle disputes through dialogues and settle differences through consultation, so as to build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equality, justice and win-win cooperation.
Third is to deepen and expand people-to-people exchanges. Xi urged the BRICS countries to continue aiming at greater people-to-people connectivity and carrying out people-to-people exchanges in various areas to further enhance the mutual understanding and traditional friendship among their people, so as to consolidate popular support for BRICS cooperation.
Fourth is to build a network of closer partnerships. Xi said that BRICS countries may explore “BRICS Plus” cooperation within the United Nations, the G20, and other frameworks to advance the common interests and boost the development space for emerging markets and developing countries, thus contributing more to world peace and development through broader partnerships.
Xi stressed that the future of BRICS is in the hands of their people. He called on the countries to work with the rest of the international community for an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
Addressing the session, Ramaphosa highlighted the rising unilateralism and protectionism in the world, and their negative impact on emerging market economies and developing countries.
South Africa supports the BRICS countries in building the PartNIR, and takes the opportunity of the fourth industrial revolution to achieve greater development in the second “Golden Decade” of the BRICS cooperation, Ramaphosa said.
Facing similar development tasks, Temer said the BRICS countries should strengthen solidarity, jointly address the current risks and challenges, align their development strategies, expand cooperation fields and enhance science and technology competitiveness.
Putin said the BRICS countries are faced with a complicated and ever-changing international situation, urging them to unite and coordinate with each other, stick to multilateralism and international norms, and jointly dedicate themselves to protecting the economic order, promoting high-quality and equal development, and properly resolving regional hotspot issues through political means.
The BRICS countries should carry out closer cooperation under multilateral frameworks and boost their influence in international affairs, he said.
Calling the BRICS countries an important engine of global growth, Modi said they should actively help improve global governance, carry forward multilateralism, facilitate free trade and make globalization beneficial to all, so as to better protect the interests of developing countries.
During the meeting, leaders of the five BRICS countries listened to reports from chairman of the meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues, chairman of the BRICS business council and president of the BRICS New Development Bank.
The summit issued the Johannesburg Declaration, in which the BRICS countries sent a clear signal to preserve multilateralism and reject protectionism.
The BRICS countries decided to initiate the PartNIR and deepen cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, finance, political security and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, according to the declaration.
After the meeting, the five leaders witnessed the signing of multiple documents, and watched South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind via video connection, and printed their handprint as a souvenir.