Chinese President Xi Jinping has touched down in Johannesburg for the 15th BRICS Summit, as reported by Chinese state media. This marks his second official visit of 2023, following his trip to Russia in March.
Xi Jinping’s arrival in South Africa was warmly received by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, according to the Xinhua news agency. During his visit, Xi Jinping is expected to participate in the BRICS Summit and engage in a state visit to South Africa. In a statement, Xinhua noted that Xi expressed his delight at returning to South Africa. And looked forward to discussing the deepening of China-South Africa relations and issues of mutual interest with Ramaphosa.
The BRICS Summit is set to take place from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Brings together the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, under the theme “BRICS and Africa.” Announced by South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor earlier this month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin Absent
Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be in attendance this year. Putin is currently sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the Ukraine conflict, while South Africa is a signatory to the ICC.
Xi Jinping’s previous visit to South Africa occurred in 2018 when he sought to bolster China’s diplomatic and economic ties with the African continent.
Among the key topics on the agenda for this year’s BRICS Summit is the potential expansion of BRICS membership. The bloc has previously expressed its openness to new members, and several African countries. Algeria, Egypt, and Ethiopia have expressed their desire to join.
A total of 69 countries have been invited to participate in the summit, encompassing all African states. Meanwhile, BRICS, often seen as a counterweight to Western economic dominance, comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Together, these nations represent 23 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and 42 percent of the global population.
As leaders convene in Johannesburg for the BRICS Summit, the world will be watching closely for developments on various fronts. Including economic cooperation, geopolitical dynamics, and the potential expansion of this influential bloc.