President Hu Jintao will set off for Russia on Sunday for the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit and the first official meeting of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China, a group of rapidly emerging economies called BRIC.
The SCO summit will start next Monday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Li Hui told a press conference yesterday, with the BRIC summit following next Tuesday. In addition to the summits, he will pay a state visit to Russia and attend celebrations for the 60th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations, Li said.
The SCO, a regional organization founded in 2001 in Shanghai, includes China, Russia and the central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Leaders from Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India, four observers of the organization, as well as the leader of Afghanistan, will take part in the upcoming SCO meeting, Li said.
The leaders are expected to discuss various issues including the financial crisis and issues concerning regional security, such as separatist activities, terrorism, arms smuggling and drug trafficking.
Members of the SCO hope to reach a consensus on jointly countering the financial crisis at the summit, Gao Yusheng, deputy secretary-general of the SCO, told China Daily yesterday.
The leaders are also expected to sign a convention on combating terrorism, separatism and extremism and an agreement on political and diplomatic mechanisms against regional security threats.
As for Hu's state visit to Russia, his first trip to the neighbor since Russian President Dmitry Medvedev took office in May last year, Li said a series of documents on economic, trade and energy cooperation between China and Russia will be signed.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said in May that Moscow is to sign a massive gas supply deal with Beijing during Hu's visit.
Russia had been well prepared for the deal, he said recently, adding Moscow would provide as much as Beijing needs.
After Russia, Hu will travel to Slovakia and Croatia for state visits from June 18 to 20.
Milestone BRIC meeting
The first official meeting of BRIC leaders will be held in Yekaterinburg on June 16.
During the five hours they are scheduled to spend together, the leaders will talk about issues ranging from the global financial crisis to energy and climate change, Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei said yesterday.
BRIC nations account for 42 percent of the world's population and enjoyed an average annual economic growth of 10.7 percent from 2006 to 2008. According to Goldman Sachs, the four nations have contributed one-third of the world's growth since 2000.
"Exchanging views among the BRIC leaders will strengthen cooperation and tone up the influence of the emerging markets and developing countries and push for multilateralism," he said.
At the time of a lingering global financial crisis, such a summit not only benefits the four nations but also helps revive the world economy, he said.
Whether the summit will become a tradition is likely to be discussed at the summit, he added.
Asked whether China, the world's largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, intends to abandon the US dollar as the reserve currency, a likely topic of the summit according to media reports, He said the idea is "not realistic".
"Nobody is talking about dumping the dollar," he said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and others have vowed to search for alternatives to the greenback as the world's principal reserve currency.
But the global financial reform, touching on bodies including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), would be on the summit agenda, he said.
Emerging nations, led by Brazil, Russia, India and China, want to increase their representation at the IMF, aiming for an agreement on reforms by January 2011.
Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jim O'Neill, who invented the term BRIC in 2001, told Reuters yesterday that the four BRIC countries combined could dwarf the G7 in less than 20 years, around 10 years earlier than he had predicted before, due to the financial crisis.
O'Neill said BRIC was unlikely to become a powerful political institution on the world stage but could serve to prompt reforms.
Xinhua and Reuters contributed to the story
Source: China Daily