Cli­mate change is the dom­i­nant topic at the meet­ing

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT / INTERNATIONAL -

CLI­MATE change, trade and ter­ror­ism were high on the agenda yes­ter­day at a Bei­jing meet­ing of foreign af­fairs of­fi­cials from Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa, known col­lec­tively as the Brics na­tions.

The five coun­tries are seek­ing to fur­ther align their views on key is­sues at a time when Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is with­draw­ing the US from mul­ti­lat­eral ar­range­ments such as the Paris cli­mate ac­cords and the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship trade deal.

Chi­nese Foreign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said China in the com­ing year would look to “ex­pand with more broad and wide-rang­ing co-op­er­a­tion in ar­eas such as trade and com­merce and in­vest­ment.”

To­gether the Brics coun­tries ac­count for roughly 40 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and 20 per­cent of the global econ­omy. All five coun­tries are mem­bers of the Group of 20 in­dus­trial and emerg­ing-mar­ket na­tions, al­though their eco­nomic prospects have de­clined some­what amid crises in Brazil and South Africa and the im­pact of sanc­tions lodged against Rus­sia by the West.

South African Foreign Min­is­ter Maite Nkoana-Masha­bane pointed to cli­mate change as a ma­jor con­cern.

“There is one cli­mate and for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions we must em­ploy ev­ery ef­fort at our dis­posal to re­verse the ef­fects of cli­mate change,” she said.

Nkoana-Masha­bane also em­pha­sised the need for joint ef­forts to fight ter­ror­ism, a sen­ti­ment re­flected by Vi­jay Ku­mar Singh, an In­dian Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs of­fi­cial.

“It is im­por­tant to en­hance Brics se­cu­rity in counter ter­ror­ism mat­ters,” Singh said.

Lead­ers of the five na­tions are to meet in the south­east­ern Chi­nese city of Xi­a­men in Septem­ber.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping later met with the of­fi­cials at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in cen­tral Bei­jing, say­ing the six hours of dis­cus­sion among the na­tions had pro­duced “a lot of con­sen­sus,” as well as a con­clud­ing doc­u­ment that was not im­me­di­ately re­leased. – AP

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