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Climate change, trade and terrorism were highlighted Monday at a Beijing meeting of foreign affairs officials from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known collectively as the BRICS nations.
The five nations are seeking to further align their views on key issues at a time when President Donald Trump is withdrawing the U.S. 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 cooperation in areas such as trade and commerce and investment.”
Together the BRICS countries account for roughly 40 percent of the world population and 20 percent of the global economy. All five countries are members of the G20, although their economic prospects have declined somewhat amid crises in Brazil and South Africa and the effect 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 pointed to the need to form joint efforts to fight terrorism, sentiments reflected by Vijay Kumar Singh, an Indian External Affairs official.
“It is important to enhance BRICS security in counterterrorism matters,” Singh said.
Leaders of the five nations are due to meet for a summit in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen in September.