BEIJING, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday called on BRICS countries to uphold multilateralism and work in solidarity to overcome global challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and a virus-hit world economy.
Addressing the 12th BRICS summit via video link in Beijing, Xi took swipes at the rising protectionism, unilateralism and acts of bullying, as well as stigmatization and scapegoating amid the pandemic.
Proposing solutions for reviving the economy, including low-carbon development, Xi said the world can count on China to keep its promise of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
The virtual summit of the emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was convened as COVID-19 continues to rage across the globe, sickening 55 million people worldwide, killing 1.3 million and battering the world economy.
According to a prediction by the International Monetary Fund, the world economy will shrink by 4.4 percent this year, and emerging markets and developing countries will experience negative growth for the first time in 60 years.
The BRICS countries are home to over 40 percent of the world population and about one-fourth of the world economy.
MULTILATERALISM FOR PEACE, STABILITY
Xi enumerated a series of challenges the world is facing, including the pandemic, shrinking international trade and investment, a global recession, unilateralism, protectionism, acts of bullying and widening deficit in governance, trust, development, and peace.
"Despite all this, we remain convinced that the theme of our times -- peace and development -- has not changed, and that the trend toward multipolarity and economic globalization cannot be turned around," he said.
"History teaches us that multilateralism, equity and justice can keep war and conflict at bay, while unilateralism and power politics will inflate dispute and confrontation," Xi said.
"Flouting rules and laws, treading the path of unilateralism and bullying, and withdrawing from international organizations and agreements run counter to the will of the general public and trample on the legitimate rights and dignity of all nations," he said.
Xi called on the BRICS countries to hold high the banner of multilateralism, endeavour to safeguard the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law.
The BRICS countries need to champion the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, Xi said, urging the bloc to oppose interference in others' internal affairs, as well as unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction."
SOLIDARITY, COORDINATION TO DEFEAT COVID-19
Noting that the coronavirus is still causing havoc in many places, Xi warned that securing a worldwide victory against the pandemic remains an "uphill journey."
Xi stressed the imperative to step up international coordination and response and support the World Health Organization's crucial leadership role in this endeavor.
Chinese companies are working with their Russian and Brazilian partners on phase-three clinical trials of vaccines, and China is prepared to cooperate with South Africa and India as well. China has joined the COVAX facility and will actively consider providing vaccines to BRICS countries where there is a need, Xi said.
To support the development of a BRICS vaccine R&D center, China has designated its own national center and will work with other BRICS countries both online and offline to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorize production and recognize each other's standards, he added.
Xi also proposed convening a BRICS symposium on traditional medicine to explore its role in coronavirus prevention and treatment.
Acts of politicization, stigmatization, blame-shifting and scapegoating only serve to disrupt overall global cooperation against the virus, Xi said, urging unity and reason to stamp out the "political virus."
OPENNESS, INNOVATION TO REVIVE ECONOMY
To tackle the "pressing task" to stabilize the economy while controlling the pandemic, BRICS countries need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, follow through on the initiative on facilitating the cross-border flow of people and goods, and keep industrial and supply chains safe and open to better enable the resumption of business activities and economic recovery, Xi said.
"The practice of using the pandemic to pursue 'de-globalization' or clamor for 'economic decoupling' and 'parallel systems' will end up hurting one's own interests and the common interests of all," he warned.
Xi stressed the need to stand firm for building an open world economy and reject abuse of the "national security" concept for protectionist purposes.
Xi said China will work with other parties to flesh out the BRICS partnership on the new industrial revolution at a faster pace, citing upcoming measures including the launch of an innovation center in Xiamen, Fujian Province for such partnership.
China will be more vigorous in integrating with the global market and will take greater initiative in deepening international cooperation. In so doing, China will create more opportunities and space for global recovery and growth, he added.
Xi said the world can "count on China" to keep its promise of peaking carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.