Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday warned against “expanding” military ties in a speech ahead of a virtual summit with top leaders of Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Beijing is hosting the meeting of the influential club of BRICS emerging economies, which account for more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP.
Three of its members – China, India and South Africa – have refrained from voting on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Xi told the BRICS trade forum that the “Ukraine crisis is … a wake-up call” and warned against “expanding military alliances and seeking its own security at the expense of the security of other countries”.
China and India have strong military ties with Russia and buy large amounts of its oil and gas.
In a call last week, Xi assured his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that China would support Moscow’s core interests in “sovereignty and security” – prompting the United States to warn Beijing that it was “on the wrong side of history”. runs the risk of being terminated.
South Africa, one of the few African countries to have diplomatic influence outside the continent, has not condemned the Russian military action.
In a speech on Wednesday, Xi took a dig at US and EU sanctions on Russia, saying “sanctions are a boomerang and a double-edged sword”.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries will meet in Germany next week to discuss how to proceed with sanctions against Russia.
– ‘The world divided’ –
The BRICS summit comes as Russian troops continue to strike eastern Ukraine after invading the country four months ago.
Both China and India have increased crude oil imports from Russia, helping offset losses from reducing Russian energy purchases from Western countries.
India bought six times more Russian oil from March to May than in the same period last year, while imports by China tripled during that period, data from research firm Rystad Energy showed.
Beijing and Moscow, once bitter Cold War rivals, have increased cooperation in recent years.
President Putin was in Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in February, days before the invasion of Ukraine began.
Beijing and Moscow also flew bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea while US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo in late May – a sign of strong military ties between the two countries.
“The world has been divided into East and West after the Ukraine war,” New Delhi-based writer and geopolitical commentator Manoj Joshi told AFP.
He said BRICS provides a platform for Putin to stand with the leaders of emerging economies.
“It sends a message to the US and the EU that they have not succeeded in isolating him and Russia,” he said.
Analysts say Beijing will use the summit to boost its governance and development model at a time of global instability.
China said at a meeting of BRICS foreign ministers in May that it wanted other emerging economies to join the grouping, although it was not clear whether new members had been invited.
“Beijing wants to shape the BRICS agenda in line with China-centric initiatives,” said Madhu Bhalla, Professor and Editor, India Quarterly Journal.
“The entry of other members… who follow the Chinese line will help move the group’s agenda closer to the Chinese agenda,” he said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)