Chinese President Xi Jinping will host a virtual summit of the leaders of the BRICS countries on June 23, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa in the virtual meet next week, which will mark the first summit of the leaders following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin on Wednesday held a second phone conversation since the invasion, with Beijing saying it would support Russia’s sovereignty and security.
Mr. Xi will also host a BRICS Business Forum on June 22 and a dialogue on global development on June 24 to be attended by leaders from BRICS and other developing countries, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said.
In the lead-up to the summit, the National Security Advisers of the five BRICS nations on Wednesday attended a virtual meet aimed at boosting “political and security cooperation”. A statement said “multilateralism and global governance, new threats and challenges to national security, and governance in new domains” were on the agenda.
Chinese officials have said Beijing is keen for the grouping to explore expansion and include new developing country members. Under the “BRICS Plus” format, next week’s summit is also expected to be attended by leaders of invited emerging countries. The meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers last month in the lead up to the summit had invited Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, Senegal and Thailand to attend.
For China and Russia, the grouping is seen as a useful platform to broaden their voice amid their tensions with the West. “Facing the once-in-a-century changes and pandemic which are compounded by international hotspot issues,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said last month on the expansion process, “BRICS countries agree that it is important to enhance cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries, further improve the representation of BRICS, make BRICS’ voice in major international and regional issues more widely heard, join hands to meet challenges, and uphold the common interests and development space of emerging markets and developing countries.”