On 25-27 July 2018, the tenth annual stand-alone BRICS summit will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the aftermath of the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada, on 8-9 June 2018, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China, on 9-10 June 2018, several pressing issues stand out. The G7 and SCO summits both took a common stance on the security of the Korean peninsula, pushing toward the denuclearization of North Korea. However, divisions at and after G7 summit left open the possibility of a trade war, and the SCO summit was divided over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The upcoming BRICS summit, shaped by these pressing global challenges as well as its unique position in the network of global summit institutions, is expected to produce a rich, targeted and productive discussion on the most imminent issues of the day.

First, in the economic sphere, the issue of international trade was left largely unresolved by the G7. Not only was trade one of the most divisive issues from the start of the G7 summit, but the G7 communiqué, which appeared unanimous at first, was rapidly repudiated by U.S. president Donald Trump shortly after the summit in Twitter posts expressing anger at Canadian and European trade policies. Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. endorsement of the G7 communiqué immediately brought trade back as one of the most pressing tensions in the global economy. On the other hand, the SCO summit declaration produced a stronger and much more concerted statement on international trade, saying that “the Member States stand for the joint forming of an open world economy, the consecutive strengthening of an open, inclusive, transparent, nondiscriminative and multilateral trade system based on rules, as well for the prevention of fragmentation of international trade relations and rejection of any forms of trade protectionism.” By implication it voiced support for China in its trade dispute with the United States. The upcoming BRICS summit, especially after the recent U.S. imposition of tariffs on China, will likely build on the strong statements from the SCO summit and reaffirm the position of developing countries and emerging economies as the new guardians of an open world economy.

On security, the most imminent issue remains that the denuclearization in North Korea. The G7 unanimously called on North Korea to “to completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles as well as its related programs and facilities.” The SCO summit declaration produced a similar, albeit more toned-down, statement, advocating “the settlement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula solely through a political and diplomatic approach based on dialogue and consultations.” It voiced its members’ support of “the peace initiatives of the international community, including those of Russia and China, aimed at the normalisation of the situation, including the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and securing long-term peace in Northeast Asia.” In addition to the shared if distinctive security approach of the G7 and SCO summits, a historic summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders took place in Singapore on 12 June 2018, which set the stage for more normalized relations between the countries. This was followed by another meeting between the leaders of North Korea and China in Beijing, where China expressed approval of the détente in the U.S.-North Korea relationship. With this coinciding security approach of the summit institutions and their members, the BRICS leaders have a firm foundation and will likely made stable progress on normalizing relations with North Korea and gradually achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The most challenging and divisive issue on the table will likely be related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This division was foreshadowed at the SCO summit. While the so-called Shanghai Spirit of mutual respect, win-win cooperation and shared development shaped the overall atmosphere in Qingdao, the section of the final declaration regarding members’ support for the BRI was not endorsed by India. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said that India “welcomes new connectivity projects that are inclusive, sustainable, transparent, and those that respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.” India is concerned about sovereignty because the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — a portion of the BRI — passes through the disputed region of Kashmir. However, even against this backdrop, Modi reiterated that “connectivity with SCO and neighbours is a priority for India.” Thus, while there were unresolved disputes, there was no fundamental disagreement in principle. Getting unanimous support from the BRICS for China’s BRI will be a challenge, but not an impossible one. Furthermore, in Canada for the outreach session of the G7 summit, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa used his visit to engage with the business community to attract investment to South Africa as a part of his broader plans to grow the economy, create jobs, and reduce poverty and inequality. In this drive to attract investment into South Africa, China’s BRI is an important opportunity and Ramophosa will likely push for an even greater boost from the forthcoming BRICS summit coming up. Whether the Johannesburg Summit accomplishes unanimous support for the BRI will be a key factor in determining its overall success.

Overall, the BRICS summit in Johannesburg will provide both challenges and opportunities. As a coalition of the world’s leading developing countries, the upcoming summit provides yet another opportunity to make clear the members’ united stance in safeguarding an open world economy amidst the fragmentation in the western world. The Johannesburg Summit is also likely to make solid progress on security, given the recent boosts from the G7 and SCO summits, as well as the bilateral meetings with North Korean president Kim Jong-Il. The BRI will likely be the most divisive issue on the agenda, but could also provide an opportunity for this summit to be a significant milestone for economic development, infrastructure investment, as well as connectivity and cooperation in the developing world.

Alissa Wang is the chair of summit studies for the BRICS Research Group, and a research assistant at the G7 Research Group, the G20 Research Group and the Global Health Diplomacy Program, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs in Trinity College at the University of Toronto. She is pursuing a combined JD/PhD degree in political science with a focus on international relations and comparative politics. She was an editor for the reports produced by the G20 Research Group summit studies team, an analyst for the G7 Research Group summit studies team, and works on compliance research. Alissa is interested in Chinese history and politics as well as China’s role in global governance. She was a member of the field teams at the G7 summits at Schloss Elmau in Germany in 2015, in Ise Shima in Japan in 2016 and in Charlevoix in 2018, and at the G20 summits in Hangzhou in China in 2016 and Hamburg in Germany in 2017.

The BRICS Research Group is grateful to the University of Toronto’s Asian Institute and Department of Political Science for their support of its research on the 2018 Johannesburg Summit.

This blog post can also be found on the BRICS website. 




金砖研究组,王馨荷Alissa Xinhe Wang,2018年6月21日

2018年7月25日至27日,第十届年度独立金砖峰会将在南非约翰内斯堡举行。 在2018年6月8日至9日在加拿大Charlevoix举行的七国集团峰会和2018年6月9日至10日在中国青岛举行的上海合作组织峰会之后,一系列紧迫的问题浮出水面。首先,七国集团和上合组织峰会都对朝鲜半岛的安全采取了共同立场,推动了朝鲜的无核化。其次,七国集团峰会之后的分歧增大了贸易战的可能性,而上海合作组织峰会在中国的“一带一路”倡议(BRI)上也产生分歧。即将举行的金砖峰会将受到这些迫切的国际挑战和其集团在全​​球峰会机构网络中的独特地位的影响,而就当前最迫切的问题进行丰富,有针对性和富有成效的讨论。

首先,在经济领域,七国集团峰会没有解决国际贸易问题。贸易不仅是七国集团峰会开始时最具分歧性的问题之一,七国集团公报中短暂的团结声音也很快的被美国总统特朗普在Twitter上一番对加拿大和欧洲贸易政策的愤怒的话完全打破。特朗普撤回美国对七国集团公报的支持后,国际贸易问题立刻被引回为全球经济中最紧迫的问题之一。在世界的另一端,上海合作组织峰会的青岛宣言在国际贸易问题上取得了一个更有力,团结的声明。青岛宣言指出,“成员国支持完善全球经济治理体系,发展经贸和投资合作。成员国认为,世界贸易组织是讨论国际贸易议题、制定多边贸易规则的重要平台,支持共同构建开放型世界经济,不断巩固开放、包容、透明、非歧视、以规则为基础的多边贸易体制,维护世贸组织规则的权威性和有效性,反对国际贸易关系的碎片化和任何形式的贸易保护主义。“ 此声明也暗示了上合组织在中美国贸易战中对中方的支持。即将举行的金砖国家峰会,特别是在美国最近对中国征收关税后,可能将以上海合作组织峰会的声明为基础,并确立发展中国家和新兴经济体作为开放世界经济的新监护人的地位。


目前金砖会议桌上最具挑战性和分歧性的问题很可能与中国的一带一路倡议有关。这个分歧已在上海合作组织峰会上体现。虽然青岛峰会的整体气氛展现了上海精神中的相互尊重,合作共赢,和共同发展等特征,最终宣言中BRI的部分仍然没有得到印度的认可。印度总理莫迪说,印度“欢迎有包容性,可持续性和透明以及尊重国家主权和领土完整的新连通性项目。”目前,印度的焦点在主权问题上,因为一带一路项目中的中国 – 巴基斯坦经济走廊部分将经过有争议的克什米尔地区。但是,即使在这样的背景下,莫迪重申,“与上合组织和邻国的联系是印度的优先事项。”因此,即使此项目中有尚未解决的争议,印度与一带一路项目并没有根本的分歧。获得金砖国家对中国一带一路的一致支持将是一项首要挑战,但并非不可能。另外,在加拿大七国集团峰会的外联会议上,南非总统Cyril Ramaphosa利用他的访问与加拿大企业界接触,推广南非的投资机会,作为他的扩大经济,创造就业机会,和减少贫困和不平等的计划的主要一部分。在这个吸引对南非投资的行动中,一带一路项目对南非来说是一个重要机会。因此,Ramophosa可能在即将举行的金砖国家峰会中给予一带一路项目更大的支持。约翰内斯堡首脑会议是否取得对一带一路的团结一致的支持将是决定其整体成功的关键因素。

总体而言,约翰内斯堡的金砖国家峰会将在面临挑战的同时提供更多合作机遇。在西方世界逐渐分裂的背景下,即将举行的金砖峰会给金砖成员提供了又一次机会,树立发展中国家在保护开放世界经济中的统一立场和领导位置。考虑到七国集团和上合组织首脑会议近期推动的议程以及与朝鲜总统金正日的双边会议,约翰内斯堡首脑会议也可能在安全方面取得稳步进展。 BRI可能成为议程上最大的挑战,但也可能为本次峰会提供机会,成为经济发展,基础设施投资以及发展中国家连通与合作的重要里程碑。