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China’s Foreign Minister Previews Next Week’s BRICS Summit in China; Invited Nations Anxious To Participate

Aug. 30, 2017 (EIRNS)—At a briefing for the media this morning in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi put a focus on China’s invitation to five non-BRICS nations to attend the Sept. 3-5 summit in Xiamen, China: "We need to have some further explanation about the BRICS Plus to help people better understand the rationale of this idea," Wang said. He explained that the host BRICS country has the option of inviting non-members, and previous hosts have done that, by inviting neighboring countries. Those discussions, he said, have been "very effective."

Regarding China, he said:

"Our practice is a little bit different; we are not just inviting countries in our neighborhood, but also countries from around the world that are interested in the BRICS mechanism."

The purpose, he explained, is to turn the partnership into the most important platform for South-South cooperation, CGTN reports. This is evident from the geographic breadth of the invited nations: Mexico, Tajikistan, Egypt, Kenya, and Thailand.

The invitations have been very well received, by the countries themselves, and internationally. Yaroslav Lissovolik, chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank, told Xinhua that the initiative is

"aimed not at expanding the very core of the association and including the largest developed countries, but at increasing its openness and accessibility to integration for the states of the developing world."

Egypt is willing to further contribute to cooperation within the BRICS framework, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi told Chinese media before his trip to China for the BRICS summit.

"Our participation in the meetings with the BRICS countries is of great importance, especially as Egypt enjoys promising economic capabilities and provides an outstanding strategic location that can help it effectively support the BRICS community and its priorities,"

Sisi told Xinhua in the recent interview.

The Egyptian president said he expects the summit to contribute to the further understanding of major issues concerning developing countries, as well as the political, economic, and social challenges facing them. He also expressed his great appreciation of Chinese President Xi Jinping for inviting him to attend the BRICS summit, "which reflects the special bond between the two countries, as well as their strategic partnership." His participation in the BRICS summit is an opportunity for the two sides to continue consultation and coordination on various issues regarding mutual interests, the president said.

"The visit will also provide a good opportunity to follow up on the joint projects of cooperation between the two countries in various fields, taking into account the contribution of Chinese companies to several ongoing infrastructure projects in Egypt, including the new administrative capital project, electricity and energy development projects, and transportation," Sisi noted

To Thailand, the upcoming ninth BRICS summit means much, reports Xinhua today. It is expected to witness the signing of draft contracts of a railway project vital to the Southeast Asian nation. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will attend the dialogues on political and security issues on the sideline of the summit.

The Thailand-China railway project has been a focus of widespread attention in Thailand.

"It will be the first standard gauge high-speed railway of Thailand and will greatly shorten the traveling time from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima,"

said Huang Bin, head of the Chinese department at the Kasikorn Research Center, a Thai think tank. The future railway will "contribute to economic and social development in the less-developed northeast of Thailand," Huang added. During the BRICS Xiamen summit, Thailand and China are expected to sign the design and supervision draft contracts for the first phase of the railway project, according to Thai officials. The first phase project, divided into four sections, is about building a 253-km railway with a maximum speed of 250 km per hour to link the capital, Bangkok, and the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. In the second phase, the railway will extend from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai on the border with Laos, where it will be further connected to the China-Laos railway that is under construction. When the whole project is completed, Bangkok and Kunming, provincial capital for Yunnan in China’s southwest, will be connected by the modern railway.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has left Dushanbe for China for a state visit ahead of a summit of the BRICS. Several cabinet members are accompanying him on his visit, which ends on September 5. Chinese media reported that Rahmon was expected to attend a summit-related Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries.

On August 23, Tajik lawmakers ratified a memorandum on cooperation under which China is to help build new buildings for the Tajik parliament and government in Dushanbe. Tajikistan’s economy and trade minister, Nematullo Hikmatullozoda, said that China had agreed to allocate 1.5 billion yuan (some $230 million) for the construction project.