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Xi’s call to jointly tackle post-virus challenges meets need of the hour

President Xi Jinping addresses the 13th BRICS Summit via video link in Beijing on Sept 10, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping's speech at the virtual BRICS summit echoes the consistent position he has advocated at all major international forums in the past year, that international collaboration is the only way forward to tackle the challenges amid the pandemic, analysts and experts said.

“President Xi's approach is … of multilateralism and of working together collectively,” said Mustafa Hyder Sayed, executive director of the Pakistan-China Institute, a think tank based in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The cooperation that Xi proposed can be “on economy, public health governance, COVID-19 and other matters, which are of shared interest for all international states”, Sayed said.

The “collective approach” championed by President Xi is the “healing touch” that the world needs, so as to move forward in reviving the economies that have been hit hard by COVID-19 and promoting job opportunities, he said.

The “collective approach” championed by President Xi is the “healing touch” that the world needs, so as to move forward in reviving the economies that have been hit hard by COVID-19 and promoting job opportunities, said Mustafa Hyder Sayed, executive director of the Pakistan-China Institute

In his speech via video link to the 13th BRICS summit on Sept 9, which was hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Xi said that China will donate 100 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries by the end of 2021.

BRICS refers to the world’s major developing economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Also speaking at the virtual summit are Brazilian President  Bolsonaro Russian President Vladimir Putin, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Beyond doubt China has won countless hearts and minds through its magnanimous COVID-19 vaccine donation as well as help that already saw tens of millions of vaccines flow into developing countries,” Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies, another Pakistan-based think tank.

Gul noted that Pakistan was a major beneficiary of China’s magnanimity which involved not only supply of several million vaccine doses but also facilitating a state-of-the-art vaccine production facility at Islamabad which is producing 3 million vaccines a month.

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He said that Xi's intense focus on public health cooperation, as well as strengthening the economic cooperation is very much in sync with the demands and requirements of developing countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and many other South Asian and African nations.

This is because these developing economies’ public health sectors are not very strong and they need a lot of cooperation.

And Gul stressed that the cooperation needed has to be “in the Chinese sense of the word, not in the Western sense.”

Sayed agreed with Gul about true meaning of cooperation. He believes that Xi’s collective approach is about “a win-win partnership and strategy” where there are collective gains, as opposed to “a unilateral approach” where the gain of one person, institutions or countries is at the cost of the gain of other states or institutions.

“The opposite (of the collective approach) offers zero sum game,” Sayed said, adding that “no one country or one region has the solution to the challenges of today's world”.

Karori Singh, a professor and emeritus fellow of the University of Rajasthan in India, said Xi underscored that BRICS has become an important force on the international stage, and its member countries have supported multilateralism and taken part in global governance in the spirit of equity, justice and mutual assistance

Karori Singh, a professor and emeritus fellow of the University of Rajasthan in India, said Xi underscored that BRICS has become an important force on the international stage, and its member countries have supported multilateralism and taken part in global governance in the spirit of equity, justice and mutual assistance.

In his speech, President Xi “appeared confident, and expressed satisfaction that, over the 15 years, the five BRICS countries have enhanced strategic communications and political trust in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and equity,” Singh said.

The BRICS nations “respected one another’s social systems and development paths and explored sound ways for countries to interact with each other while seeking synergy between their development policies and drawing on their complementarities”, he added.

READ MORE: Full text: Xi's speech at the 13th BRICS summit

Singh also mentioned that Xi had advised that BRICS countries to “stay resolved, strengthen unity and further enhance the quality of practical cooperation”, for which the Chinese leader suggested five broad areas.

“He (Xi) reemphasised that China looks forward to working with BRICS partners to deepen cooperation in all areas and build closer and more result-oriented partnership to meet common challenges and create better future,” Singh noted.

In his address to the Sept 9 summit, Xi mentioned “strengthening economic cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit” as one of the five proposals for BRICS practical cooperation.

Sayed said that China has emerged as the “champion” and the “advocate” of the developing world and has been articulating the interests of the developing countries in all important forums, including but not limited to the United Nations, World Health Assembly, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The initiative has represented “the need of the hour for equality, inclusiveness and sustainable development”, he said.

Gul noted that Belt and Road Initiative has seen the Chinese footprint expand in developing countries through economic and financial cooperation. The China-led infrastructure-related program is what most developing countries need, particularly those badly impacted by coronavirus and its ensuing economic consequences, he said.

Economic cooperation through trade, transfer of technology and incentives such as cheap loans can be the key to creating a larger community based on shared ideals and belief in a win-win for every stakeholder, Gul said.

“This is what distinguishes China from most of the Western countries.”

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The BRICS leaders adopted the "New Delhi Declaration" and pledged to strengthen and reform the multilateral system to make global governance more responsive and effective.

Prime Minister Modi in his address also noted that BRICS has many achievements in last one-and-a-half decades. “Today we are an influential voice for emerging economies of the world," he said, "We need to ensure that Brics is more productive in the next 15 years."

Brazilian President Bolsorano praised the partnership of BRICS nations in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russian President Putin said BRICS cooperation is in demand as the situations around the world remain "quite turbulent". He also pointed out the withdrawal of forces of the United States and its allies from Afghanistan has led to a new crisis.

South African President Ramaphosa said all tracks of the BRICS cooperation have been orientated towards concrete responses to the pandemic.

“As the BRICS countries, we must continue to safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods, support global economic recovery and enhance the resilience of all our public systems,” Ramaphosa said.

Agencies contributed to this story.

vivienxu@chinadailyapac.com