Xi’s speech at 12th BRICS summit endorses multilateralism, anti-pandemic cooperation, experts say

BEIJING, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — Overseas experts said Tuesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the 12th BRICS summit will boost confidence in safeguarding multilateralism, enhancing global anti-pandemic cooperation and reviving the world economy.

Speaking to Xinhua in response to the Chinese president’s speech at the summit, they praised China for its long-time active role in and important contribution to BRICS cooperation.

Addressing the summit of the five major emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — Tuesday in Beijing via video link, Xi put forward a series of proposals for BRICS cooperation to overcome global challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic recession.

Hailing Xi’s appeal for upholding multilateralism, Jim O’Neill, chairman of the London-based think tank Chatham House, said safeguarding multilateralism amid the coronavirus pandemic is “exceptionally important.”

Countries should strengthen and coordinate their efforts to develop treatments and vaccines, said O’Neill, who in the early 2000s coined the acronym BRIC that represents Brazil, Russia, India, and China, expressing hopes that all BRICS countries can return to stronger growth after the pandemic.

“President Xi’s remarks are extremely pertinent and straight, and forward-looking,” said B.R. Deepak, chairperson at the Center of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Xi’s proposals to deepen solidarity and cooperation in jointly coping with COVID-19, prioritize people’s livelihood by eradicating poverty and build a BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution are “crucial,” he added.

Koh Chin Yee, president of Singapore’s South Seas Society, said that China has joined COVAX, a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization, to ensure effective and equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines, and has committed to opening up in economy and trade, which “have shown its consistent support to multilateralism.”

Resonating with Xi’s call for promoting the eradication of poverty as a primary goal of the international community, Egyptian columnist and writer Kamal Gaballa said that China’s success in eradicating poverty is “not only a gain for China, but also a gain for the world.”

China has set an example for other countries to raise “people’s standard of living and to promote sustainable development,” Gaballa added.

Jannie Rossouw, head of School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, said the summit is very important as it comes at a very difficult time and there are a number of issues like the pandemic affecting the globe and BRICS members.

Countries can’t fight the pandemic alone, he said, adding that “the only way the world is going to get through the pandemic is through partnerships.” 

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