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China’s President Xi Jinping: ‘Create a BRICS Plus Cooperation Approach’

Sept. 5, 2017 (EIRNS)—President Xi Jinping held a concluding press conference at the end of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen today. He said that the BRICS leaders had reached "broad consensus on the current international situation, global governance and BRICS cooperation." At the initiative of China, Xi said, they had invited five other countries, Thailand, Egypt, Tajikistan, Mexico and Guinea, to attend a Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries together with the BRICS leaders. Under the theme "Strengthening Mutually-Beneficial Cooperation for Common Development," Xi said,

"leaders discussed ways of enhancing international development cooperation and agreed to forge a broad-based development partnership and speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the common development of all countries."

There had been some speculation that BRICS might be expanded at the Summit into a BRICS Plus with the addition of these other five countries from five different regions, but not all the members were in favor of such a project. India, in particular, which has had a heated border dispute with China over the last few weeks, had openly opposed such an expansion.

Nevertheless, it was clear that this practical cooperation with other developing countries would proceed apace. Xi said:

"It is a fine tradition for BRICS to conduct dialogue and cooperation with other emerging market and developing countries. Under the current circumstances, such dialogue and cooperation have become all the more important. The Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries hosted by China has sent a strong message for closer South-South cooperation and global development cooperation. Leaders attending the Dialogue agree that emerging market and developing countries, who enjoy good growth momentum, are well placed to play a bigger role when it comes to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and improving global economic governance. We need to deepen South-South cooperation, create a ’BRICS Plus’ cooperation approach, reach out extensively to other countries to forge development partnerships and establish an open and diverse network of development partners."

Xi also reported a commitment by the BRICS countries to deepen their political and security cooperation and enhance mutual strategic trust.

"At the summit, we BRICS leaders share the view that as BRICS cooperation enters its second decade, institution building has to move forward in keeping with the changing times if we are to secure strong support for deeper and more substantive cooperation across the board."

He described that this past year, the five countries had held a meeting of high representatives for security issues and the first stand-alone meeting of BRICS foreign ministers.

"We have developed cooperation roadmaps in areas such as trade facilitation, trade in services, currency swaps, local currency settlement and public and private partnership, set up the African Regional Center of the New Development Bank, and put together the BRICS Innovation Cooperation Action Plan,"

Xi said. He continued that the BRICS leaders have agreed to place more of a stress on innovation and in that way

"seize the historic opportunities offered by the new round of industrial revolution and improve economic structure at a faster pace so as to secure more resilient, sustainable and quality growth for all."

In his introductory chairman’s statement at the Sept. 4 plenary, President Xi had announced that China was contributing $4 million into the project preparation fund of the BRICS New Development Bank for the bank’s operation and long-term development. In addition it was setting aside $75 million for economic and technological cooperation and exchanges among BRICS countries. China will also commit $500 million to the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation. In his chairman’s statement, Xi quoted a Chinese proverb to express the importance of BRICS solidarity, saying "a partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone." (Full texts: concluding press conference; plenary keynote.)