06/24/2022, 12.42
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Brics summit: Xi attacks the West (without little to show)

Annual meeting of the group formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The unifying trait is the desire to increase trade cooperation and promote a multipolar world. The final communiqué makes no mention of Putin's proposals to weaken the role of the dollar. Sino-Indian disagreements hinder the strengthening of the partnership between the five countries.

Beijing (AsiaNews) -  Chinese President Xi Jinping used his speech yesterday at the online annual summit of Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), to launch an invective against the West over its having a Cold War mentality and imposing illegal sanctions. He also espoused the line of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin: emerging nations must oppose U.S. hegemony and work toward the creation of a multipolar way.

The Brics have been meeting regularly since 2009. Together they account for 41 percent of the world's population, 24 percent of global GDP and 16 percent of international trade. In their dialogue, however, they have never gone beyond commitments to greater trade cooperation.

Yesterday's summit does not seem to have achieved concrete results. The final joint statement is vague, especially on such a central issue as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. China did not condemn Moscow's attack and in official statements blames NATO's "expansionism" for the crisis. Summit participants avoided mentioning the words "conflict" and "war," referring to the "situation in Ukraine"-a courtesy to Putin, who speaks of a "special military operation." They added only that they support the UN's humanitarian efforts for the affected population.

The document says nothing about two points raised by Putin to free Russia from financial dependence on the West. On the eve of the summit, the Kremlin chief had said the Brics partners were working on a new reserve currency to oppose the dollar, and an alternative international payments system to the Washington-controlled Swift.

The only real unifying trait among the Brics is a willingness to give emerging countries a greater voice in global multilateral institutions. China and India are buying more oil from Russia, which has been hit by Western sanctions. Behind the move, however, is economic opportunity (the discounted prices), certainly not support for Putin's territorial aims.

The relevance of the Brics format is then always affected by the difficult relationship between China and India, which for the past two years have returned to confront each other over border issues in the Himalayas. Xi's attacks on NATO stem from the fear of seeing the emergence of an Asian twin of the U.S.-led Atlantic Alliance. For example, Beijing views with concern all the moves of the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), which Xi believes to be the embryo of an "Asian NATO" of which India is a member, in addition to the United States, Japan and Australia.

Sino-Indian tensions are also reflected on the trade front. China has proposed a free trade agreement among Brics countries, signaling that their trade still remains low. The project has little chance of success precisely because of Delhi's positions in this regard. It is worth mentioning that in November 2020 the Indian government refused to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the China-dominated multilateral trade pact also signed by the 10 Asean countries, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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Beijing's pro-Russian neutrality
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War on Ukraine: Beijing tones down support for Moscow after backlash
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