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South Africa will host the fifth BRICS Summit – the first to be held on African soil – at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban next month.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane this evening in Cape Town, Yang Jiechi, the Chinese foreign minister said, “I am sure that this BRICS meeting will break some new ground.”
The creation of a new BRICS development bank, permanent business council and scientific research centre are believed to be among the principal items on the two day gathering’s agenda.
Yang is in South Africa “to get things prepared for the upcoming visit of the incoming president of China [to South Africa] and for a successful BRICS meeting,” he said.
Trade exchanges among BRICS countries exceeded $320 billion in 2011, six times the amount of 10 years ago.
BRICS represent almost half the world’s population and about one-fifth of global economic output.
China’s incoming President, Xi Jinping, will pay an official state visit to South Africa for the summit on one of his first trips abroad after assuming office in early March.
Nkoana-Mashabane assured her counterpart that Xi would not be disappointed.
“I am confident that you will be able to report to Beijing that all preparations are well underway,” she said.
“From a substance and logistical point of view, everything is on track.”
Beyond the upcoming summit, both ministers expressed excitement over the deepening relationship that has emerged between the two countries since formal diplomatic ties were established 15 years ago.
During that time, “our relationship has developed on so many different fronts; political, economic and social” Yang said.
“Both sides have benefitted a great deal from this relationship. We ought to continue to work hard for the interests of our two peoples” added Yang.
Nkoana-Mashabane agreed: “Although the time within which our relationship has developed has been relatively short, it has grown from an ordinary bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.”
Yang will pay a courtesy call on South African President Jacob Zuma tomorrow before heading to Moscow for meetings with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister – Yang will return to China on Saturday.
Matt Quigley reporting for The BRICS Post