BRASILIA – Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday before the start of the BRICS summit that he hopes the event will contribute to strengthening his country’s ties with Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We want to promote a relationship of mutual trust, a relationship for common development, together with all of Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said during a joint press conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, host of the gathering of the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).
Brazil, Xi said, is the platform for the expansion of links between BRICS and the entire Latin American region.
Outcomes that benefit all parties are “always the objective” of Beijing’s international initiatives, he said, hailing the current “extraordinary” relations enjoyed by China and Brazil, which he described as “the principal emerging markets in today’s world.”
Bolsonaro pointed out that Xi’s attendance at the summit in Brasilia comes just weeks after his own visit to China, a nation with which his government “wants to expand and diversify relations.”
The far-right Brazilian leader, who took office in January, had seemed cool to the idea of BRICS during his campaign, insisting that Latin America’s largest economy should open itself to the world in a non-ideological, pragmatic way.
Brazil intends to treat China “with the due affection, respect and consideration,” Bolsonaro said, as both the Brazilian and Chinese people have “much to gain” from the bilateral relationship.
Xi and Bolsonaro oversaw the signing of accords on cooperation in the areas of services, investment, transportation and traditional medicine.
The two men were set to participate later Wednesday in the closing ceremony of a BRICS business conference, joined by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The formal meeting of the BRICS heads of government will take place Thursday. While the focus is expected to be on economic and trade issues, the leaders are also likely to discuss global political events.