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Chinese leader Xi warns against ‘expanding military alliances’ ahead of BRICS summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech in virtual format at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, June 22, 2022. (Photo by Xinhua)

China’s President Xi Jinping has warned against “expanding military alliances” ahead of the BRICS summit, calling on countries around the world to overcome difficulties together and seek win-win cooperation.

The Chinese leader made the comments during a speech he delivered in virtual format at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on Wednesday with top leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa.

He said “group politics”, “bloc confrontation” and military alliances will lead only to “wars and conflicts”, urging the international community to oppose hegemonic practices in a veiled criticism of the US-led NATO military alliance.

“In the past century, humanity has gone through the scourge of two world wars and the dark shadow of the Cold War. The tragedies of the past tell us that hegemony, group politics and bloc confrontation bring no peace or security; they only lead to wars and conflicts,” Xi said.

“The Ukraine crisis is another wake-up call for all in the world. It reminds us that blind faith in the so-called ‘position of strength’ and attempts to expand military alliances and seek one's own security at the expense of others will only land oneself in a security dilemma."

The group, which is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, collectively represents more than 40 percent of the world by population.

China, India, and South Africa have abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine that began on February 24. 

The military operation has drawn waves of sanctions by the United States and its European allies against Moscow and brought a large cache of advanced weapons into Ukraine.

In an apparent reference to the United States, Xi, whose country is also reeling under sanctions by Washington, said the policy had a boomerang function and brings its repercussions.

“It has been proved time and again that sanctions are a boomerang and a double-edged sword," the Chinese leader said.

"To politicize the global economy and turn it into one’s tool or weapon, and willfully impose sanctions by using one’s primary position in the international financial and monetary systems will only end up hurting one's interests as well as those of others, and inflict suffering on everyone."

China and India have strong military ties with Russia and purchase large amounts of its oil and gas from it.

Last week, Xi assured his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a phone call that Beijing would support Moscow’s core interests in “sovereignty and security.” His comments, however, prompted Washington to warn Beijing that it risked ending up “on the wrong side of history.”

“People have reason to be concerned that the world economy might slip into a crisis,” Xi said. “At this critical juncture, tiding over difficulties together and pursuing cooperation is the only way for us to forestall an economic crisis.”

Back in 2019, the BRICS members held a summit that ended in a declaration that called for an overhaul in the UN, the UN Security Council, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Such overhaul, they said, would boost the chances of international “multilateralism and cooperation of sovereign states to maintain peace and security, and advance sustainable development.”

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