China’s President Xi Jinping begins his state visit to South Africa today. At the invitation of South African President Cyril
China’s President Xi Jinping begins his state visit to South Africa today.
At the invitation of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Xi will attend the summit of BRICS leaders in Johannesburg, South Africa. Xi’s visit will be his second state visit following a trip to Russia in March.
While in South Africa, Xi is expected to focus on building on already friendly relations between the two countries. Earlier this year, South Africa participated in joint military exercises with Russia and China, despite Western objections. Discussions are not expected to focus on expanding cooperation in defense or security but instead on increased economic cooperation. As China is South Africa’s largest trading partner, talks between Ramaphosa and Xi are likely to be centered around expanding trade and investment, and whether to admit new members into BRICS.
China supports the expansion of BRICS membership, mainly to challenge the United States’ geopolitical influence and dominance on the global economy. This meeting will be an important chance for Xi to gauge South Africa’s stance on the matter. In the medium term, the two countries will likely grow closer as Beijing continues to challenge the United States and as South Africa continues to resist explicitly aligning itself with Western interests.