Turn Our Vision into a Reality
– Remarks at the Plenary Session of the BRICS Johannesburg Summit
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Johannesburg, 26 July 2018
Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa,
Your Excellency President Michel Temer,
Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Let me begin by thanking President Ramaphosa and the South African government for their warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangements. The BRICS Summit is convened in Africa again after a lapse of five years. This is an occasion to celebrate.
The theme of this summit – “BRICS in Africa: Collaborating for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution” – is most fitting under the current circumstances. The previous three industrial revolutions were all characterized by transformative advancement in science and technology: the rise of mechanization in the 18th century, the harnessing of electricity in the 19th century, and the advent of the Information Age in the 20th century. Such breakthroughs have greatly unleashed social productivity and significantly improved people’s living standards, thus profoundly reshaping the course of human history.
Today, we are experiencing another revolution in science, technology and industry, which is greater in scope and depth. Breakthroughs are being made in quick succession in frontier technologies like big data and artificial intelligence. New technologies, business models and industries are emerging one after another. Countries around the world have found their interests and future tied together like never before.
That said, we have yet to sustain global growth with new driving forces and to address the North-South imbalance and other deep-seated structural problems. What’s more, constant flare-ups of geopolitical conflicts and the escalation of protectionism and unilateralism are directly affecting the external development environment of emerging markets and developing countries.
History keeps surging forward independent of people’s wish. We the BRICS countries must therefore have a keen grasp of the trend of our times, deepen our strategic partnership, and consolidate our cooperation framework underpinned by economic, political and security cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. This way, we will be able to turn our vision of a second “Golden Decade” into a reality, and together build a community with a shared future for mankind.
First, we must unlock the enormous potential of our economic cooperation. Closer economic cooperation for shared prosperity is the original purpose and priority of BRICS cooperation. It is also in the economic field that we enjoy the most promising, diverse and fruitful cooperation. We need to step up trade, investment, economic, financial, and connectivity cooperation to make this pie still bigger. At the same time, we must work together at the United Nations, the Group of 20, and the World Trade Organization to safeguard the rule-based multilateral trading regime, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and reject protectionism outright.
It is important that we continue to pursue innovation-driven development and build a Partnership on New Industrial Revolution to strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policies, find more complementarities in our development strategies, and reinforce each other’s efforts in renewing economic driving forces and upgrading economic structure. In this context, China will host ten human resources development programs during which experts of our five countries will be invited to draw up a blueprint for our cooperation in the new industrial revolution. By so doing, we hope to enhance the competitiveness of not only BRICS countries but also other emerging markets and developing countries.
Second, we must safeguard global peace and security. Political and security cooperation is an important component of BRICS strategic partnership. We should stay committed to multilateralism and to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We should call on all parties to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations and to settle disputes through dialogue and differences through consultation. By fully leveraging the role of BRICS meetings of foreign ministers, national security advisers and permanent representatives to the United Nations, we can make our voice heard, put forth our solutions, and jointly work for a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equality, justice and win-win cooperation.
Third, we must expand people-to-people exchanges. We the BRICS countries boast great civilizations. When it comes to cultural and people-to-people exchanges, there is a lot we can do together. As a matter of fact, such exchanges have notably gained momentum over the last year or two. We should aim at greater people-to-people connectivity and more popular support for BRICS cooperation through extensive exchanges in cultural, educational, health, sports, tourism and other areas. China would therefore like to suggest joint touring exhibitions by the BRICS alliances of museums, art museums, national galleries, and libraries and closer cooperation in the cultural, creative and tourism industries and at the sub-national level. This way, we can spread the BRICS story far and wide to further enhance the mutual understanding and traditional friendship among our people.
Fourth, we must build a network of closer partnerships. Since the inception of the BRICS mechanism, openness and inclusiveness have remained our abiding commitment. The “BRICS Plus” approach we adopted at the Xiamen Summit is designed to strengthen the unity and coordination among BRICS members for greater cohesion and, at the same time, to keep broadening the BRICS “circle of friends” in a joint pursuit of shared development and prosperity for all emerging markets and developing countries. We may explore “BRICS Plus” cooperation within the United Nations, the G20, and other frameworks to advance the common interests and boost the development space for emerging markets and developing countries, thus contributing more to world peace and development through broader partnerships.
The future of BRICS is in the hands of our people. Let us work together with the rest of the international community for an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.