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10 experts interpret Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum

2017-09-06

Source: cnmatters.com    Published: 2017-9-5


“Embracing the vast ocean, the city welcomes visitors from around the world.” On Sep.3, the BRICS Business Forum held its grand opening ceremony in Xiamen. At the ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech which has attracted extensive  attention the world over.


The 45 minutes’ speech with more than 6000 characters contains a considerable amount of information.


To provide our readers with a complete perspective on the speech, we have invited several experts on BRICS studies to offer their interpretations.


Wang Wen, executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China


Refuting concerns and challenges directly, enhancing international confidence in BRICS nations


President Xi’s keynote speech provides an excellent overview of the BRICS nations’ power and abilities.


What impressed me most is that he said BRICS nations only want to make a bigger pie instead of taking away anybody’s cheese.


Xi has thereby responded to concerns and challenges raised by the international community, and especially the western countries, who question whether the revolutionary tradition of the BRICS nations will damage or overturn the present international order set up after WW II.


To some extent, Xi’s positive response has greatly elevated international confidence in the BRICS nations and will contribute to their future development.


Xi also pointed out that the foundation of BRICS cooperation has been laid and the framework is in place. This indicates that work on the “BRICS Plus” mechanism is now under way.


This summit has invited the leaders of five other countries to take part — Egypt, Nigeria, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand. Through this concrete action China has demonstrated that the “BRICS Plus” mechanism can provide an open cooperation platform for many developing countries to achieve common development and share common interests.


Most importantly, Xi refuted the idea that the BRICS countries are “losing their luster”. From this perspective, the keynote speech has made the Xiamen Summit a milestone and will boost the future development of BRICS.


He Yafei, former Deputy Foreign Minister, senior researcher of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China


Global Governance Converts From “Western Governance” to “ East and West Joint Governance”


In his speech, President Xi Jinping underlined the successes BRICS has achieved in the past ten years and strongly refuted the claim that the BRICS countries are “losing their luster”. He also depicted the prospect of a new “golden decade” and charted the course for the “BRICS Plus” mechanism which has increased the confidence of all parties in BRICS.


Xi pointed out that seen from a historical perspective, “we are in a great era of development, transformation and adjustment.” Strategist Henry Kissinger has also recognized that the international system is undergoing a great change, unprecedented in the last four hundred years, and Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated that there is “a shift in the center of global power from the Atlantic world to the Far East.”


What they are talking about is a transition from the “American Century”to the “post American” period. During this transition,  the world economic and political structures and global governance system are undergoing fundamental changes, among which the development of BRICS and the “BRICS Plus” model are prominent examples.


Taking BRICS countries as representatives of the rising power of emerging economies and developing countries, the international economy and world political structures are experiencing great changes and there is a notable trend towards the convergence of the power of developed and developing countries. As a result, new models and methods for global governance are required, and there is a push to shift global governance from “western governance” to “joint east and west governance”.


The open and inclusive “BRICS Plus” mechanism highlights the BRICS spirit of “openness and inclusiveness” and “cooperation that benefits all”. It will therefore attract more friendly parties to joint BRICS and steadily increase its cohesion, making BRICS more robust. It will propel the world economy to develop in an inclusive and interconnected way, and help to realize innovative global governance. It will also strengthen the voice of developing countries and promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, so as to introduce new ideologies and mechanisms to global governance and make it fairer, more just, and more reasonable.


He Weiwen, senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China


Usher in the second “golden decade” by encouraging reform, innovation, and inclusive cooperation


The core philosophy of President Xi’s speech at the BRICS Business Forum opening ceremony was that the BRICS nations should explore new ways to promote reform, blaze new trails, and employ inclusive cooperation and an open attitude, so as to create a second “golden decade” and ensure further development.


Russia, Brazil and South Africa have faced certain economic hardships in recent years, hence some western media have begun to talk of BRICS “luster fading”. However, these hardships and the resulting slowdown are only temporary – the potential of BRICS remains unchanged.


Nevertheless, the BRICS nations still need to adapt themselves to the new international economic situation and trends, stick to reform, blaze new trails, and develop emerging technologies and industries such as smart manufacturing, the “Internet Plus” model, and big data. The BRICS nations can further promote development by improving coordination in macroeconomic policy and exploring ways cooperate with each other in the interests of shared development. To deal with the present trend of protectionism and opposition to globalization, BRICS should stake out its position and firmly support a multilateral trade system and globalization.


BRICS should take further steps forward by engaging in dialogue with the vast emerging markets and developing countries, together with the developed countries, to discuss new ideas for a form of globalization that includes and recognizes differences, combines efficiency with social justice, and helps to narrow the income gap both within and among nations.


BRICS will play a significant historical role in realizing this ideal.


Hence, BRICS should seize the opportunity to expand its mechanism to “BRICS Plus”, to include more emerging markets and developing countries to become larger and stronger, so as to better reflect the interests and needs of its members and become a global platform in world economic governance.


Lin Minwang, researcher of Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, visiting fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.


Only by taking a strategic and historical perspective can we remove barriers to cooperation


The keynote speech delivered by President Xi is thought-provoking.Xi began his speech by talking about Xiamen.


Xi worked in Xiamen, so he is familiar with the city. More important, as one of the cities at the forefront of China’s reform and opening up, Xiamen has witnessed the full miracle of China’s development. “Dedicate yourself and you will win” embodies the mindset of people in southern Fujian; it also encapsulates the spirit of 40 years of opening up and reform.


Xi went on to emphasize the progress made and the value of the experience gained through BRICS cooperation.


What merits attention is Xi’s point that we should see BRICS from two dimensions: first in terms of “the historical course of global development and the evolving international landscape”, and second in terms of the development strategies of the BRICS countries individually and collectively.


The first ensures that BRICS nations do not simply take the mechanism as a platform for economic cooperation – they should see it from a higher and broader vision.


As leading powers among the developing countries, the BRICS nations shoulder the responsibility of creating history. Only by taking this strategic and historical perspective can they overcome existing obstacles to cooperation.


The second serves as a caution that if BRICS nations want to achieve deeper cooperation, they need to find the point of conjunction among their individual development strategies.


Only when both of these are taken into consideration concurrently can we view the future of BRICS in a more balanced and objective way.


Third, Xi outlined expectations for future BRICS cooperation, which indicate the leading role China will play in next decade.


Xi concluded with a summary of China’s economic reform over the past five years, which has strengthened the confidence of the international community in China’s future development. In particular, Xi pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative is not “a tool to advance any geopolitical agenda”, neither is it “a foreign aid scheme”. It upholds the same spirit as BRICS itself.


Generally speaking, the speech encapsulated both ideals and pragmatism. It summarized past experience as well as examining future prospects. It has charted the course for further BRICS development in the coming decade.


Zhou Zhiwei, researcher of the Institute of Latin American Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, executive director of Center for Brazilian Studies


BRICS Cooperation Demands the Spirit of Southern Fujian: “Dedicate Yourself and You Will Win”


The speech President Xi delivered at the opening ceremony of 2017 BRICS Business Forum contained a wealth of information. It introduced China’s experience of reform, together with the development of the host city Xiamen; it also explained very clearly China’s position with regard to BRICS cooperation.


What impressed me most were the two dimensions Xi outlined towards BRICS cooperation. One involves the evolution of the international structure; the other involves the BRICS nations own internal development.


These two dimensions offer valuable criteria to understand BRICS cooperation: democratization of the decision-making process in international politics and economics is where the common interests of the BRICS nations lie, and sharing economic development opportunities is the engine for BRICS cooperation. There is a clear and logical correlation between the two.


By pursuing development together, promoting the overall power of developing countries, and sustaining the international power structure changes, a fairer democratic order can be realized in international relations.


In addition, the four expectations raised by Xi in terms of future BRICS cooperation are very much to the point.


“Replacing old growth drivers with new ones” will support the quest for further trade and economic cooperation among BRICS nations; it is also a new requirement imposed by the current round of structural reform in the BRICS nations.


“BRICS and its Responsibilities” represents the role BRICS nations should play in upholding global peace and development; it also illustrates the need to “expand the BRICS cooperation” and the need to strengthen cooperation in political security.


“The Role of BRICS” highlights the positive role BRICS nations can play in optimizing global economic governance, and in trade and investment facilitation to withstand the “counter-currents” such as economic protectionism.


“The expanding impact of BRICS” encapsulates the global cooperation of the grouping on the one hand, and highlights the need to create the “BRICS Plus” mechanism on the other.


Interestingly, President Xi’s introduction to the development experience of Xiamen conveyed the idea that “BRICS cooperation also needs the spirit of southern Fujian -“Dedicate yourself and you will win”.


Zhou Gang, former Chinese Ambassador to India


China-India Cooperation in the Next BRICS Golden Decade


In his keynote speech, Xi highly praised for the successes that BRICS cooperation has achieved. He It also drew conclusions on past experience and pointed out the future direction of development.


China and India are the two most-populated developing countries and the fastest-growing emerging economies. They should strengthen practical cooperation in all aspects, and play an active role in improving global economic governance in the next decade, so as to make a greater contribution to upholding international peace and stability.


The current people-to-people exchanges between the two countries are only a little over one million, far from satisfaction for such a huge large population. Hence China and India should enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, cultivate a friendly social environment, and consolidate mutual public cooperation.


The two countries both face the dual challenge of accelerating economic development and improving standards of living. They should therefore adopt a positive attitude towards such challenges and increase the extent of their cooperation.


China and India also uphold a broad consensus and share common interests on a number of key international problems, which will provide broader prospects for cooperation.


Due to the boundary issue carried over from history and the difference in concerns that has resulted, it is natural that China and India have differences disagreements over international and regional issues. However, what is more important for the two countries is the need to steadily increase strategic mutual trust, and to follow the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the basic principles of international law to which both are committed. Only by maintaining an overall relationship that is amicable, opposing any zero-sum game, remaining committed to win-win thinking, and seeking common ground while shelving and narrowing differences, can they properly handle disputes and promote the healthy and steady development of the relationship between the two countries.


Hu Biliang, director of Emerging Markets Institute, Beijing Normal University


BRICS contributes to joint world governance


The keynote speech from President Xi was rich in content. In it he voiced a valuable and important proposal – that the five BRICS countries should combine to tackle the problems the world is facing now, and should use the wisdom and powers they have acquired through ten years of experience to make the world a better place.


As Xi explained in the speech, since the end of WW II the world has essentially developed under the governance of western countries, led by the US and Europe. Even though advances have been made in various fields, several new problems have emerged, such as terrorism, trade protectionism, and cybersecurity.


In an era of great development, transformation and adjustment, we need new powers to join in and proactively solve these problems.


After 10 years of dedicated effort, BRICS cooperation has come to fruition.BRICS nations all have their own experiences in governance, and should play an active part in global governance. The establishment and successful operation of the BRICS New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Agreement provide convincing examples.


Seen from the present situation, at least three positive experiences of BRICS cooperation could be beneficial to world governance, and should be taken into consideration:


first, the basic philosophy of BRICS; second, the promotion of inclusive cooperation among nations and regions to achieve development that benefits all, and steadily narrowing the gap of social inequality to ensure that everyone enjoys the fruits of international cooperation and development; third, taking economic cooperation as the basic principle and enhancing practical cooperation through effective implementation.


Ye Qing, director of Shanghai Institute for International Studies


Optimizing Global Governance by Learning From BRICS Experience


President Xi’s keynote speech has pointed out the direction for cooperation in the coming decade based on conclusions drawn from the past 10 years of BRICS cooperation.


BRICS cooperation has just reached a new historic turning point. The Xiamen Summit is not only vital to BRICS own development, but also crucial to future world governance and the international order.


First, 10 years of accumulated experience has advanced the influence of BRICS, making it a leading force for new rounds of globalization. The BRICS nations have taken the initiative in global governance, and this initiative is steadily expanding.


Second, the contribution of the BRICS nations to global governance has been increasing continuously. The contribution over the past ten years has been critical, and the world is now expecting a more creative contribution in the coming decade. Based on direct experience, and especially the governance philosophy that takes development as the core, the BRICS nations will lead economic globalization through innovation, and live up to its goal to ensure benefits for all.


Third, China will synchronize its development with BRICS cooperation, and is confident about it. Confronted with challenges imposed by the trend of opposition to globalization, China is now promoting the “BRICS Plus” cooperation model in an endeavor to achieve a broader consensus on global governance. Also, in the hope of establishing a community of common destiny, China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, which is designed to replace geopolitical competition with practical cooperation. It rejects the law of the jungle and cold-war ideology of zero-sum and supports dialogue, co-construction, and shared benefits, and shares opportunities with other countries along with its own development. All these will make a further contribution to upholding world peace.


Wang Lei, director of Center for BRICS Cooperation, Beijing Normal University


Viewing BRICS cooperation from a historical perspective


Xi noted in his speech that there are two things to bear in mind (the historical course of world evolution and the historical course of BRICS progress) when assessing the progress of BRICS cooperation, and that this cooperation should be judged in a comprehensive way that takes account of both the historical course and the strategic perspective.


In the process of forging the first “golden decade” of cooperation, the BRICS countries encountered challenges and difficulties, which led to such talks as“broken BRICS” and “fading BRICS”.


However,  the BRICS nations have not hesitated in their own development and in further strengthening their cooperation. This cooperation is in conformity with changes to the international structure and a historical trend witnessing a diffusion and transfer of world power. The difficulties they faced are only temporary in the process of development, and will not disrupt their overall development or change the direction of global political and economic reform. In addition, cooperation and friendship among BRICS nations and other developing countries are a source of energy for further development of the BRICS mechanism in the future.


By enhancing mutual trust and cooperation and tackling problems of development, the BRICS nations will not only usher in a new “golden decade” of cooperation, but also benefit other emerging markets and developing countries, and contribute to the international relations democracy, world economic globalization, and the cultural diversity.


Fang Zhenghui, Deputy director general of China International Publishing Group,CIPG


New Definition of BRICS Spirit


A careful study of President Xi Jinping’s speech has led me most impressed by there are three major highlights.


First, the sense of a responsible great power.


In the speech, Xi shared his insightful conclusions concerning the problems now confronting BRICS and the rest of the world. Facing these problems with the will to solve them might represent the image of a responsible country; the resolution to tackle domestic problems together with those of the BRICS nations and the wider world demonstrates a truly responsible great power. This level of concern about the wellbeing of the international community contrasts starkly with some countries that only care about their own interests.


In the speech, Xi claimed that it is the responsibility of BRICS to uphold world peace and stability. This sense of responsibility will have a strong and positive impact on BRICS future development.


Second, the global vision.


Xi pointed out that there are two vital dimensions in BRICS cooperation, and three facets of the BRICS spirit. He also raised four expectations for the coming “golden decade”. From these we can see President Xi’s broad global vision.


This kind of global vision and concern for all are the value basis of “the community with common destiny”,  advocated by Xi. They are not only vital to BRICS cooperation and development, but also inspire the ideas that provide the base for the ideology of global governance.


Third, concern for standards of living.


A strong sense of concern for standards of living can be felt in Xi’s speech, one that extends not only to the people of China, but to all peoples throughout the world.


On the occasion of a business forum, Xi addressed repeatedly those people who still struggle and live in suffering, which truly touched the audience. I sincerely believe that all the other people in the world who have listened to the speech will be as moved as I was.


Xi concluded the speech by saying “Let our cooperation deliver more benefits to the peoples of our five countries. Let the benefits of global peace and development reach all the people in the world.” President Xi Jinping always bears in mind the hope of realizing prosperity for all, and has long been dedicated to this goal.

Key Words: BRICS  summit  RDCY  Wang Wen  He Yafei  He Weiwen  Lin Minwang