Seeking Development Through Solidarity and Cooperation and Shouldering Our Responsibility for Peace
Remarks by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the 15th BRICS Summit
Johannesburg, August 23, 2023
Your Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa,
Your Excellency President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,
Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
I am very pleased to join you in Johannesburg for the important discussions on BRICS cooperation and development. It is especially significant that the BRICS Summit is held in Africa for the third time. I wish to thank President Ramaphosa and the South African government for the thoughtful arrangements.
We gather at a time when the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. It is undergoing major shifts, division and regrouping, leading to more uncertain, unstable and unpredictable developments.
BRICS is an important force in shaping the international landscape. We choose our development paths independently, jointly defend our right to development, and march in tandem toward modernization. This represents the direction of the advancement of human society, and will profoundly impact the development process of the world. Our track record shows that we have consistently acted on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and taken BRICS cooperation to new heights in support of our five countries’ development. We have upheld fairness and justice in international affairs, stood up for what is right on major international and regional issues, and enhanced the voice and influence of emerging markets and developing countries. BRICS countries invariably advocate and practice independent foreign policies. We always address major international issues based on their merits, making fair remarks and taking fair actions. We do not barter away principles, succumb to external pressure, or act as vassals of others. We BRICS countries share extensive consensus and common goals. No matter how the international situation changes, our commitment to cooperation since the very beginning and our common aspiration will not change.
We gather at a crucial time to build on our past achievements and open up a new future for BRICS cooperation. We should navigate the trend of our times and stay in the forefront. We should always bear in mind our founding purpose of strengthening ourselves through unity, enhance cooperation across the board, and build a high-quality partnership. We should help reform global governance to make it more just and equitable, and bring to the world more certainty, stability and positive energy.
—We should deepen business and financial cooperation to boost economic growth. Development is an inalienable right of all countries, not a privilege reserved for a few. The world economic recovery remains shaky, with less than 3 percent of growth for the year as estimated by some international institutions. Challenges for developing countries are even more formidable, hampering their efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. We BRICS countries should be fellow companions on the journey of development and revitalization, and oppose decoupling and supply chains disruption as well as economic coercion. We should focus on practical cooperation, particularly in such fields as digital economy, green development, and supply chain, and bolster economic, trade and financial exchanges.
China will set up a China-BRICS Science and Innovation Incubation Park for the New Era to support the deployment of innovation results. Under the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation mechanism, we will explore the establishment of a BRICS Global Remote Sensing Satellite Data and Application Cooperation Platform to provide data support for agriculture, ecological conservation and disaster reduction in various countries. China will also work with all parties to jointly establish a BRICS Framework on Industrial Cooperation for Sustainable Development as a platform of industrial coordination and project cooperation in implementing the United Nations (U.N.) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
—We should expand political and security cooperation to uphold peace and tranquility. As a Chinese saying suggests, “Nothing is more beneficial than stability, and nothing is more detrimental than turmoil.” The Cold War mentality is still haunting our world, and the geopolitical situation is getting tense. All nations long for a sound security environment. International security is indivisible. Attempts to seek absolute security at the expense of others will eventually backfire. The Ukraine crisis has evolved to where it is today because of complex reasons. What is pressing now is to encourage peace talks, promote deescalation, end the fighting, and realize peace. No one should add fuel to the fire to worsen the situation.
BRICS countries should keep to the direction of peaceful development, and consolidate the BRICS strategic partnership. We need to make good use of the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the Meeting of High Representatives on National Security and other mechanisms, support each other on issues concerning our respective core interests, and enhance coordination on major international and regional issues. We need to tender good offices on hotspot issues, pushing for political settlement and lowering the temperature. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new area of development. BRICS countries have agreed to launch the AI Study Group of BRICS Institute of Future Networks at an early date. We need to enable the Study Group to play its full role, further expand cooperation on AI, and step up information exchange and technological cooperation. We need to jointly fend off risks, and develop AI governance frameworks and standards with broad-based consensus, so as to make AI technologies more secure, reliable, controllable and equitable.
—We should increase people-to-people exchanges and promote mutual learning between civilizations. There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be. Human history will not end with a particular civilization or system. BRICS countries need to champion the spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence and harmony between civilizations, and promote respect of all countries in independently choosing their modernization paths. We need to make good use of such mechanisms as the BRICS seminar on governance, the BRICS forum on people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and the Women Innovation Contest to deepen people-to-people exchanges and strengthen the bond between our peoples.
China would like to propose that BRICS countries expand cooperation on education, enhance the role of the BRICS alliance for vocational education, explore and set up a cooperation mechanism on digital education, and foster a paradigm of all-round cooperation on education. In addition, we also need to strengthen exchanges on traditional cultures and promote the renewal of fine traditional cultures.
—We should uphold fairness and justice and improve global governance. Strengthening global governance is the right choice if the international community intends to share development opportunities and tackle global challenges. International rules must be written and upheld jointly by all countries based on the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, rather than dictated by those with the strongest muscles or the loudest voice. Ganging up to form exclusive groups and packaging their own rules as international norms are even more unacceptable. BRICS countries should practice true multilateralism, uphold the U.N.-centered international system, support and strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, and reject the attempt to create small circles or exclusive blocs. We need to fully leverage the role of the New Development Bank, push forward reform of the international financial and monetary systems, and increase the representation and voice of developing countries.
I am glad to see the growing enthusiasm of developing countries about BRICS cooperation, and quite a number of them have applied to join the BRICS cooperation mechanism. We need to act on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation to bring more countries into the BRICS family, so as to pool our wisdom and strength to make global governance more just and equitable.
The ancient African continent is a reservoir of simple yet profound wisdom. As an African proverb puts it, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” The philosophy of Ubuntu, which believes that “I am because we are,” highlights the interdependence and interconnectedness of all peoples. Similarly, harmonious coexistence has been the aspiration of the Chinese nation for thousands of years. China is ready to work with BRICS partners to pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, enhance the strategic partnership, and deepen cooperation across the board. As fellow BRICS members, we should meet our common challenges with a shared sense of mission, shape a brighter future with a common purpose, and march together on the journey toward modernization.