Chinese President Xi to visit South Africa ahead of Brics Summit

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (AP)

The President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping will next week arrive in South Africa on an official state visit ahead of the Brics Summit.

The visit, on July 24, is aimed at strengthening economic ties between the two countries, and will be Xi’s third trip to the country since he took office.

"Xi will be in the country as part of his official visit next week before the start of the Brics Summit," said Anil Sooklal, deputy director general at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

The Brics Summit will be held in Johannesburg from July 25 to 27, after South Africa took over the rotational Brics chair in January. 

At the end of the summit the Brics nations will issue a joint declaration, which will be carefully scanned for any reference to the escalating tariff trade war between China and the US. 

Assistant Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Jun, briefing the media earlier on Xi's visit, said the leaders of the five Brics nations would work to "jointly safeguard multilateralism and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at the core, and clearly oppose unilateralism and protectionism" according to a copy of his remarks released by the ministry.

The Chinese president is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa and stay on for the summit, which will also be attended Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Brics grouping of five emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, have a combined GDP of $18.5trn (R216.5trn). South Africa formally joined the grouping in 2011 and is the smallest member by population size and economy.

DIRCO spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said a number of number of African leaders have been invited to attend the Summit including Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia and Gabon.

This year’s summit would be held under the theme: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

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