Exclusive: Ushering in the Next “Golden Decade” from a Strategic and Historic Perspective

Ten top experts interpret Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum (Part I)

— experts interpret Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum (Part I)


“Embracing the vast ocean, the city welcomes visitors from around the world.” On Sep.3, the BRICS Business Forum held its grand opening ceremony in Xiamen. At the ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech which has attracted extensive  attention the world over.

The 45 minutes’ speech with more than 6000 characters contains a considerable amount of information.

To provide our readers with a complete perspective on the speech, we have invited several experts on BRICS studies to offer their interpretations.

He Weiwen
Senior fellow of Center for China and Globalization(CCG),
senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies,
Renmin University of China

Usher in the second “golden decade” by encouraging reform, innovation, and inclusive cooperation


The core philosophy of President Xi’s speech at the BRICS Business Forum opening ceremony was that the BRICS nations should explore new ways to promote reform, blaze new trails, and employ inclusive cooperation and an open attitude, so as to create a second “golden decade” and ensure further development.

Russia, Brazil and South Africa have faced certain economic hardships in recent years, hence some western media have begun to talk of BRICS “luster fading”. However, these hardships and the resulting slowdown are only temporary – the potential of BRICS remains unchanged.

Nevertheless, the BRICS nations still need to adapt themselves to the new international economic situation and trends, stick to reform, blaze new trails, and develop emerging technologies and industries such as smart manufacturing, the “Internet Plus” model, and big data. The BRICS nations can further promote development by improving coordination in macroeconomic policy and exploring ways cooperate with each other in the interests of shared development. To deal with the present trend of protectionism and opposition to globalization, BRICS should stake out its position and firmly support a multilateral trade system and globalization.

BRICS should take further steps forward by engaging in dialogue with the vast emerging markets and developing countries, together with the developed countries, to discuss new ideas for a form of globalization that includes and recognizes differences, combines efficiency with social justice, and helps to narrow the income gap both within and among nations.

BRICS will play a significant historical role in realizing this ideal.

Hence, BRICS should seize the opportunity to expand its mechanism to “BRICS Plus”, to include more emerging markets and developing countries to become larger and stronger, so as to better reflect the interests and needs of its members and become a global platform in world economic governance.

Lin Minwang
researcher of Institute of International Studies,
deputy director of Center for South Asian Studies,
Fudan University

Only by taking a strategic and historical perspective can we remove barriers to cooperation


The keynote speech delivered by President Xi is thought-provoking.Xi began his speech by talking about Xiamen.

Xi worked in Xiamen, so he is familiar with the city. More important, as one of the cities at the forefront of China’s reform and opening up, Xiamen has witnessed the full miracle of China’s development. “Dedicate yourself and you will win” embodies the mindset of people in southern Fujian; it also encapsulates the spirit of 40 years of opening up and reform.

Xi went on to emphasize the progress made and the value of the experience gained through BRICS cooperation.

What merits attention is Xi’s point that we should see BRICS from two dimensions: first in terms of “the historical course of global development and the evolving international landscape”, and second in terms of the development strategies of the BRICS countries individually and collectively.

The first ensures that BRICS nations do not simply take the mechanism as a platform for economic cooperation – they should see it from a higher and broader vision.

As leading powers among the developing countries, the BRICS nations shoulder the responsibility of creating history. Only by taking this strategic and historical perspective can they overcome existing obstacles to cooperation.

The second serves as a caution that if BRICS nations want to achieve deeper cooperation, they need to find the point of conjunction among their individual development strategies.

Only when both of these are taken into consideration concurrently can we view the future of BRICS in a more balanced and objective way.

Third, Xi outlined expectations for future BRICS cooperation, which indicate the leading role China will play in next decade.

Xi concluded with a summary of China’s economic reform over the past five years, which has strengthened the confidence of the international community in China’s future development. In particular, Xi pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative is not “a tool to advance any geopolitical agenda”, neither is it “a foreign aid scheme”. It upholds the same spirit as BRICS itself.

Generally speaking, the speech encapsulated both ideals and pragmatism. It summarized past experience as well as examining future prospects. It has charted the course for further BRICS development in the coming decade.

Zhou Zhiwei
researcher of the Institute of Latin American Studies,
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
executive director of Center for Brazilian Studies

BRICS Cooperation Demands the Spirit of Southern Fujian: “Dedicate Yourself and You Will Win”


The speech President Xi delivered at the opening ceremony of 2017 BRICS Business Forum contained a wealth of information. It introduced China’s experience of reform, together with the development of the host city Xiamen; it also explained very clearly China’s position with regard to BRICS cooperation.

What impressed me most were the two dimensions Xi outlined towards BRICS cooperation. One involves the evolution of the international structure; the other involves the BRICS nations own internal development.

These two dimensions offer valuable criteria to understand BRICS cooperation: democratization of the decision-making process in international politics and economics is where the common interests of the BRICS nations lie, and sharing economic development opportunities is the engine for BRICS cooperation. There is a clear and logical correlation between the two.

By pursuing development together, promoting the overall power of developing countries, and sustaining the international power structure changes, a fairer democratic order can be realized in international relations.

In addition, the four expectations raised by Xi in terms of future BRICS cooperation are very much to the point.

“Replacing old growth drivers with new ones” will support the quest for further trade and economic cooperation among BRICS nations; it is also a new requirement imposed by the current round of structural reform in the BRICS nations.

“BRICS and its Responsibilities” represents the role BRICS nations should play in upholding global peace and development; it also illustrates the need to “expand the BRICS cooperation” and the need to strengthen cooperation in political security.

“The Role of BRICS” highlights the positive role BRICS nations can play in optimizing global economic governance, and in trade and investment facilitation to withstand the “counter-currents” such as economic protectionism.

“The expanding impact of BRICS” encapsulates the global cooperation of the grouping on the one hand, and highlights the need to create the “BRICS Plus” mechanism on the other.

Interestingly, President Xi’s introduction to the development experience of Xiamen conveyed the idea that “BRICS cooperation also needs the spirit of southern Fujian -“Dedicate yourself and you will win”.

Zhou Gang
former Chinese Ambassador to India

China-India Cooperation in the Next BRICS Golden Decade


In his keynote speech, Xi highly praised for the successes that BRICS cooperation has achieved. He It also drew conclusions on past experience and pointed out the future direction of development.

China and India are the two most-populated developing countries and the fastest-growing emerging economies. They should strengthen practical cooperation in all aspects, and play an active role in improving global economic governance in the next decade, so as to make a greater contribution to upholding international peace and stability.

The current people-to-people exchanges between the two countries are only a little over one million, far from satisfaction for such a huge large population. Hence China and India should enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, cultivate a friendly social environment, and consolidate mutual public cooperation.

The two countries both face the dual challenge of accelerating economic development and improving standards of living. They should therefore adopt a positive attitude towards such challenges and increase the extent of their cooperation.

China and India also uphold a broad consensus and share common interests on a number of key international problems, which will provide broader prospects for cooperation.

Due to the boundary issue carried over from history and the difference in concerns that has resulted, it is natural that China and India have differences disagreements over international and regional issues. However, what is more important for the two countries is the need to steadily increase strategic mutual trust, and to follow the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the basic principles of international law to which both are committed. Only by maintaining an overall relationship that is amicable, opposing any zero-sum game, remaining committed to win-win thinking, and seeking common ground while shelving and narrowing differences, can they properly handle disputes and promote the healthy and steady development of the relationship between the two countries.

Wang Wen
executive director of Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies,
Renmin University of China

Refuting concerns and challenges directly, enhancing international confidence in BRICS nations


President Xi’s keynote speech provides an excellent overview of the BRICS nations’ power and abilities.

What impressed me most is that he said BRICS nations only want to make a bigger pie instead of taking away anybody’s cheese.

Xi has thereby responded to concerns and challenges raised by the international community, and especially the western countries, who question whether the revolutionary tradition of the BRICS nations will damage or overturn the present international order set up after WW II.

To some extent, Xi’s positive response has greatly elevated international confidence in the BRICS nations and will contribute to their future development.
Xi also pointed out that the foundation of BRICS cooperation has been laid and the framework is in place. This indicates that work on the “BRICS Plus” mechanism is now under way.

This summit has invited the leaders of five other countries to take part — Egypt, Nigeria, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand. Through this concrete action China has demonstrated that the “BRICS Plus” mechanism can provide an open cooperation platform for many developing countries to achieve common development and share common interests.

Most importantly, Xi refuted the idea that the BRICS countries are “losing their luster”. From this perspective, the keynote speech has made the Xiamen Summit a milestone and will boost the future development of BRICS.


(arranged in the order of the interview)