South Africa’s Ramaphosa welcomes China’s Xi ahead of BRICS summit

The Chinese president is on his fourth state visit to the African nation and will participate in the BRICS summit which runs from August 22 to 24.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomes China's President Xi Jinping at the Union Buildings ahead of the opening remarks of the BRICS emerging economies meeting [Alet Pretorius/Reuters]

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in South Africa at midnight on Monday for his fourth state visit to the country, which coincides with the 15th BRICS Summit.

After arriving at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg at midnight on Monday, Xi was welcomed with a cultural song and dance performance as well as a military parade by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

He was received by President Cyril Ramaphosa who will host the Chinese leader in the executive capital, Pretoria, on Tuesday ahead of the BRICS summit which runs from August 22 to 24.

BRICS is a bloc of emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It currently makes up a quarter of the global economy and is also home to more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

Writing in his weekly column on Monday, Ramaphosa said 2023 marks 25 years of diplomatic ties between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.

“Our bilateral relationship with our largest trading partner is almost as old as our democracy,” he said.

“South Africa has a great deal to learn from China’s development path. Among other achievements, China has lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty over a 40-year period.”

Interactive_BRICS Summit_August 2023
(Al Jazeera)

Ramaphosa said as partners in development, China and South Africa have long shared a common understanding that trade and investment are the foremost catalysts for improving the living standards of their respective peoples.

Xi will also attend the BRICS summit, where Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also expected to be present.

More than 30 heads of state and government from across Africa will be attending the summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is facing an international arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, is not attending the meeting. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will represent him.

Earlier on Sunday, Ramaphosa said South Africa will not be forced to side with any global powers as he readied to play host to the summit.

“While some of our detractors prefer overt support for their political and ideological choices, we will not be drawn into a contest between global powers,” Ramaphosa said in a televised State of the Nation address.

“We have resisted pressure to align ourselves with any one of the global powers or with influential blocs of nations,” he said.


Source: News Agencies