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Xi calls for advancing BRICS cooperation to combat virus, uphold multilateralism
  ·  2021-09-10  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 13th BRICS summit via video link in Beijing, capital of China, on September 9, 2021. Xi delivered an important speech at the summit (XINHUA)

Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 9 called on BRICS countries to promote global solidarity against COVID-19, uphold true multilateralism and enhance economic cooperation for mutual benefits.

Addressing the 13th BRICS summit via video link in Beijing, Xi said BRICS should stay resolved, strengthen unity and further enhance the quality of practical cooperation.

The virtual summit of the emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was convened as the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc around the world, the road to global economic recovery remains bumpy and tortuous, and the international order is going through profound and complex changes.

"Facing these challenges, we the BRICS countries must step forward to make an active contribution to world peace and development and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind," Xi said.

Global Solidarity Against Pandemic

In order to enhance global cooperation on vaccines and realize the equitable access of vaccines for all, Xi announced at the summit that on top of the 100 million U.S. dollars donation to COVAX, China will donate an additional 100 million doses of vaccines to fellow developing countries within this year.

To date, China has provided more than one billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations, and will strive to provide a total of two billion doses by the end of this year.

Speaking highly of China's efforts in combating COVID-19 pandemic, B.R. Deepak, professor and sinologist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, said China has effectively controlled the pandemic by adopting swift measures, and at the same time, it also offered its assistance not only to the BRICS countries but various other nations in the world.

At the summit, Xi also called on BRICS countries to support each other's COVID response, share relevant information and COVID control experience, and uphold a science-based approach to tracing the origins of the virus, and oppose politicization and stigmatization.

Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, said China's proposal for enhancing BRICS cooperation on fighting COVID-19 will help build the global immunity barrier as BRICS covers a vast region with a huge population.

Closer BRICS cooperation on vaccines also marked another concrete step China has taken to fulfill its pledge to make the vaccines a global public good, promote equitable distribution and boost global anti-epidemic efforts, Ruan added.

Championing Multilateralism

"We need to promote the practice of true multilateralism, adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law," Xi said, calling on BRICS countries to make good use of BRICS mechanisms such as the meeting of foreign ministers and the meeting of high representatives for security, better coordinate their position on major international and regional issues, and send out an even bigger, collective voice of BRICS countries.

Wang Lei, director of the Center for BRICS Cooperation Studies at Beijing Normal University, said Xi's remarks serve as a reminder for the BRICS countries to enhance coordination on international and regional issues, take an active part in the global governance and propose BRICS solutions for many global challenges.

Deepak said that notwithstanding the challenges it has faced internally and externally, BRICS has achieved remarkable development to grow as a major economic bloc contributing tremendously to global economic governance, and has emerged as a fine example of multilateralism especially with the establishment of mechanisms like BRICS University League and BRICS New Development Bank.

The above mentioned achievements have resulted from multilateral cooperation, and has contributed to improving the global governance, he said.

Closer Cooperation for Win-win

"We need to promote openness and innovation-driven growth to facilitate a steady global recovery," Xi said, adding that BRICS members should strengthen economic cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefits, earnestly implement the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025, and expand cooperation in such areas as trade and investment, technology and innovation, and green and low-carbon development.

BRICS represents more than 26 percent of the world's landmass, 42 percent of the global population and over 20 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), which puts it in a good position to play a vital role in dealing with this changing world.

Somododa Fikeni, a political analyst from South Africa, said the world expects BRICS to contribute significantly to the global economic recovery amid the lingering pandemic.

In order to further enhance practical cooperation among BRICS members, Xi announced China welcomes the substantive progress made in expanding the membership of the BRICS New Development Bank, and proposed to hold a forum on the development of industrial Internet and digital manufacturing, a BRICS high-level meeting on climate change and a BRICS forum on big data for sustainable development, and strengthen people-to-people exchanges in the spirit of mutual learning, including opening an online training course for media professionals of the five countries in the future.

Deepak said the expanding of the institutional mechanism such as the BRICS New Development Bank, which has approved about 80 projects in all of its members since its operations, demonstrates that the economic cooperation among BRICS countries will grow and the world looks forward to a bigger role of the bank in supporting the development of its members and in global economic and financial affairs.

China will take over as the chair of BRICS and host the 14th BRICS summit next year.

China looks forward to working with BRICS partners to deepen cooperation in all areas and build a closer and more results-oriented partnership to meet common challenges and create a better future, Xi said.

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