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Political, security cooperation on BRICS agenda in 2017: China

Political, security cooperation on BRICS agenda in 2017: China

Beijing: China today said this year’s BRICS Summit hosted by it will seek breakthrough in political and security cooperation and widen the grouping’s circle to make it the “most influential platform” for developing countries.

The summit to be held in September in the southeastern Xiamen city will seek breakthroughs in political and security cooperation making full use of the meeting of the national security advisors and negotiate initiating the first official
meeting of foreign ministers, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

Other than China, BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.
At his annual press conference, Wang said the grouping will build a platform for “south-south” cooperation, exploring a ‘BRICS-plus’ model by holding talks with other developing countries to establish a more extensive partnership.

“We will widen the circle of friends and turn BRICS into the most-influential platform for south-south cooperation in the world,” he said. Referring to the challenges faced by some member-nations, Wang said the mechanism of emerging markets has seen ups and downs over the past years, and each member faces its own set of challenges.

Despite the ups and downs, the BRICS mechanism will not lose its lustre but will shine more brightly if its members stay united, he added. Wang did not elaborate which members he referred to. But China itself is facing pressures due to a slowdown of its economy – the world’s second-largest.

“The BRICS countries are like five fingers, short and long if extended, but a powerful fist if clenched together,” Wang said, quoting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This year opens the second decade of the grouping, and the September meeting will be the ninth BRICS leaders’ summit. As the chair, China will work with other members to review its experience, plan the future, usher in cooperation and
provide the “BRICS plans” for world peace and development, he said.

BRICS countries will expand pragmatic cooperation. “We will fully implement the strategy for BRICS economic partnership, enhance macro policy coordination and connection of development strategies, and work out a batch of solid
measures for cooperation,” Wang said.

For people-to-people exchanges, the grouping will implement the agreements of their leaders to expand all areas of people-to-people exchanges, and build stronger public support for BRICS cooperation.

Wang also said China will host a major summit of global leaders in May for its multi-billion dollar Silk Road initiative, also known as ‘The Belt and Road’ initiative.

He claimed the ambitious project – which aims to improve China’s connectivity with Europe and West Asia through a maze of roads and ports – has become the most popular platform for international cooperation with the brightest prospects.

More than 20 heads of state and government, about 50 leaders of international organisations and 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions will participate in the gathering in May, according to Wang.

India has joined the project’s one part called the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor (BCIM), and has protested to Beijing over the USD 46 billion China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) because it runs through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

India also has reservations over another part of the Silk Road initiative – the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – over its impact in the Indian Ocean, which New Delhi considers as its backyard.

During the restructured Strategic Dialogue with China last month, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar outlined the issues, including matters related to PoK, stopping India from joining the CPEC.

Without referring to the sovereignty-related concerns, Wang said though the idea for a Silk Road came from China, the initiative belongs to the world, and it will benefit all.

Amid a rise in protectionism across the world, he said the initiative will help rebalance the economic globalisation by making it more universally-beneficial and inclusive.

Medium and long-term cooperation initiatives will be announced and long-term cooperation mechanisms will be explored during the May summit to build a closer and more result-oriented network of partnerships, he said

PTI