Remarks by H.E. Yang Jiechi, State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China, at the Opening Ceremony of 2017 First BRICS Sherpa Meeting
Nanjing, 23 February 2017
Governor Shi Taifeng,
Good afternoon. Welcome to Nanjing, Jiangsu for the First BRICS Sherpa Meeting. Known as the “land of fish and rice”, Jiangsu enjoys a long history and splendid culture, and has made great progress in its economic and social development through reform and opening-up. I wish to thank the Jiangsu provincial government and Nanjing municipal government for their thoughtful arrangements of this meeting. To quote a line from a Chinese poem, now is the season when “the vernal wind has greened the Southern shore again”. It’s also a season of sowing. I believe the efforts by the Sherpas, important aids to the leaders, will sow the seed of success for the summit. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.
The ninth BRICS Summit will be held in the Chinese city of Xiamen, Fujian Province from 3 to 5 September this year. It will be yet another opportunity for China to host BRICS leaders following the Sanya Summit in 2011. President Xi Jinping places high importance on the Xiamen Summit, and looks forward to working with other leaders to build on the fruitful outcomes of the Goa Summit and previous BRICS summits to ensure the success of the Xiamen Summit and inject fresh impetus to BRICS cooperation.
BRICS cooperation started in 2006. The 10 years that followed has been a decade of hard work and great achievements. Thanks to the commitment of all members, BRICS has grown into a big tree laden with fruits. We have stood together in face of challenges to perform a miracle of economic development and set a paradigm of South-South cooperation.
Ten years on, BRICS, once an investment term in some economic report, has gained global visibility and become a shining example of cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries. The BRICS mechanism did not come about by chance. Its inception conformed to the evolving international landscape and the shifting balance of power, echoed the strong aspiration of emerging markets and developing countries for a bigger role in international affairs, and answered the call of people across the world for a joint response to global challenges, thus serving the common interests of the international community. Today, BRICS has grown into an important force for promoting global growth, improving global governance and advancing democracy in international relations.
The reason why BRICS cooperation has come a long way to get where it is today in an ever-changing world is manifold. Guided by a philosophy of shared interests, we have assisted each other in our pursuit of development and delivered real benefits to our people. We have prioritized economic cooperation and established an all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered partnership that covers political, economic and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. And with a commitment to equity, justice and development, we have made our voice heard in international and regional affairs and put forth BRICS proposals, thus making major contribution to world peace and prosperity. An important message from the decade-old BRICS cooperation is that whatever difficulties may lie ahead on our way toward common development, great trust in each other and abiding faith in our cooperation will sustain BRICS cooperation against all odds.
We live in an era of great change and adjustment, when both opportunities and challenges abound. Peace, development and mutually beneficial cooperation remain an aspiration widely shared by the international community. The world economy has resumed growth, a new round of technological revolution and industrial evolution are in the making and the trend of innovation and reform is gaining momentum. According to the IMF, BRICS countries and other emerging markets and developing countries contributed 80% of global growth in 2016.
On the other hand, the global recovery is not solidly based and growth remains weak. Quite a few emerging markets and developing countries have encountered headwind in their economic development, and to close the gap between the South and the North and that between the poor and the rich remains an arduous task. Economic globalization is suffering setbacks. Protectionism is coming back. Geopolitical conflicts keep emerging, terrorist forces are wreaking havoc, and traditional and non-traditional security risks get intertwined. There is a significant rise of uncertainties in the world’s political and economic situation.
In such a complex and fluid environment, we need to stay confident and jointly tackle challenges and seize opportunities for common development. Our journey over the past decade is the very source of our conviction that our endowment as well as our advantage as a latecomer remain unchanged and that our development is gaining momentum, not losing steam. The internal impetus and huge potential for BRICS cooperation remain unchanged and the space for such cooperation is expanding, not shrinking. The historical trend of BRICS playing a bigger role in international affairs remains unchanged and the international expectation on BRICS is growing, not declining. From this new starting point, we should and can usher in a still more brilliant decade of BRICS cooperation.
On 1 January, President Xi Jinping sent letters to President Vladimir Putin, President Jacob Zuma, President Michel Temer and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, initiating BRICS cooperation in 2017. In his letters, President Xi stressed China’s wish to discuss with fellow BRICS members on the theme of Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future at the Xiamen Summit to review past experience, build consensus and work out a blueprint for future cooperation. This is what President Xi expects from the Xiamen Summit and the future of BRICS development. It is also what China will be working for during its BRICS chairmanship in 2017.