Click on the link to check out the interview video with CGTN's Wang Guan.
1. Wang Yi, the director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, was recently in Johannesburg, South Africa to attend the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security. Cybersecurity was high on the agenda. Why is it such a concern for the BRICS? Overall, what's your main takeaway from this meeting?
Cyber security is an important area of concern for BRICS countries. It affects the security, stability, and economic well-being of nations. This meeting on National Security has focused on developing a cooperative approach to address cyber security challenges.
However, the increasing reliance on digital technologies and the escalation of cyber threats and attacks are becoming more and more crucial. With the increasing number of businesses and individuals conducting finance transactions online, cyber security has become an essential factor in ensuring the security of citizens and businesses. More importantly, cyber-attacks and terrorism can endanger countries' infrastructure, including power grids, transportation systems, and communication networks.
Therefore, the need for international norms and rules to govern cyberspace and the importance of respecting the principles of sovereignty, non-interference, and mutual benefit in the digital domain have been the main topics.
2. At the meeting, Wang Yi also underlined political, security, and economic cooperation, as well as people-to-people exchanges as the driving forces for BRICS cooperation. In your opinion, how could BRICS countries further align to create an even greater synergy?
To create even greater synergy, BRICS countries could focus on the following areas:
First, strengthening economic cooperation in trade, investment, and infrastructure, including in new areas such as digital trade and financial technology. BRICS countries can work together to address common economic challenges, such as the impact of COVID-19 on global trade and investment.
Secondly, Enhancing the cooperation in science, technology, and innovation for capacity building. As African countries is the youngest continent with great potential of demographic dividend, in order to release this potential, high-quality of workforce is largely needed. The exchange of information on policies and programs and promotion of innovation, technology transfer, knowledge transfers, and preparing high-quality of human capital with skills are always the priorities for developing countries' sustainable development.
Thirdly, BRICS countries could expand people-to-people exchanges, including in the areas of culture, education, and tourism. This could help to deepen mutual understanding and promote greater trust and friendship among the peoples of the BRICS.
3. Just in three weeks, the 15th BRICS summit is also to be held in Johannesburg. What would be topping the agenda? And what breakthroughs and opportunities could it bring, especially to South Africa as its host this year?
What makes this summit of special significance is the fact that heads of state from all African countries have been invited. This is probably the largest scale of this kind of summit. The opportunities could include:
Developing a partnership towards climate change: New opportunities need to be explored to manage the risks associated with climate change while still improving the lives and futures of those people employed under the umbrella of targeted industries.
Transforming education and skills development for the future: Education and continuous skills development are long-term solutions towards development and escaping poverty.
Unlocking opportunities through the African Continental Free Trade Area: The operation of the African Continental Free Trade Area in line with BRICS priorities and objectives.
Strengthening post-pandemic socio-economic recovery: For example, the marginalization of women in labor market and their needs should be addressed.
4. Among other things, a new joint BRICS currency is thought to be one item on the agenda, amid rising interest rates and the recent debt-ceiling crisis in the U.S. Just this year, the BRICS overtook the G7's global GDP contribution, accounting for almost one-third of worldwide economic activity. What impacts will a joint BRICS currency bring? With 88% of international transactions conducted in U.S. dollars, will this new BRICS currency happening soon?
The idea of a joint BRICS currency has been discussed, and there has been plan or timeline announced for its creation. However, there are the challenges of coordinating monetary policies and exchange rates among BRICS countries with different economic structures, levels of development, and political systems would be significant. If the joint BRICS currency were to be well created, it could have some potential impacts on global financial systems and the international monetary order. It could reduce the dependence on the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency, which could have implications for U.S. economic influence. It could also enhance the role and importance of the BRICS countries in the global economy and financial governance.
However, the process of introducing a new currency would likely be complex and lengthy, as it would require significant coordination among the BRICS countries, as well as buy-in from other international actors such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other regional financial institutions.
5. Yet some in Washington are considering it as posing a challenge to the U.S. With Beijing labeling the U.S. dollar "the main source of instability and uncertainty in the world economy" and criticizing the U.S. for the use of sanctions as a geopolitical weapon, do you see a push for de-dollarization happening? Amid intensified geopolitical tensions, will de-dollarization exacerbate China-U.S. relations?
As Wang Guan just mentioned, with 88% of international transactions conducted in U.S. dollars, the dollar's global dominance is indisputable. The BRICS countries have been pursuing a wide range of initiatives to decrease their dependence on the dollar. We see different countries have sought to shift more of their currency reserves away from the dollar and into gold.
The push for de-dollarization may also escalate tensions between China and the U.S. as they continue to engage in geopolitical dynamics. De-dollarization could add another layer of complexity to their relationship, as it brings forth issues related to global economic and financial dynamics. How will the de-dollarization process will largely depend on how countries manage the transition and whether they can find a way to engage in constructive dialogue to ensure a smooth and orderly process.
So, as for priorities in the current geopolitical climate, it is crucial for nations to focus on maintaining stability and avoiding actions that could increase tensions further. Therefore, discussions around de-dollarization should be conducted carefully and with a long-term perspective in mind.
6. According to South Africa's BRICS ambassador Anil Sooklal, more than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining the BRICS, and 22 of them have officially applied for accession. What does it say about the BRICS? Now two decades on since its founding, what role has the BRICS been playing? In which areas are you expecting broader south-south cooperation?
The interest expressed by other countries shows the bloc's growing influence and importance in the global economy. The benefits of working collectively with emerging economies and developing nations to address common challenges and promote sustainable growth are acknowledged. As Wang Guan mentioned, the BRICS countries account for a significant portion of global GDP, population, and resource reserves. As such, the BRICS has emerged as an influential force in the global economic and political landscape, contributing to the reform of global economic governance and promoting multipolarity in the international system.
The BRICS has played a key role in harnessing the potential of new technologies and promoting innovation, being strong advocates for a more democratic and representative global governance system, and advancing sustainable development, greater cooperation, and coordination.
The future areas of south-south cooperation might continue to focus on deepening economic ties and promoting trade, investment, and infrastructure, strengthening cooperation on global challenges such as climate change, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development, and enhancing cultural and educational exchanges to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between developing countries.
8. We've seen a collective rise of emerging markets and developing countries calling for a louder voice in global affairs, which has long been dominated by the West. In light of multiple challenges, the world is currently facing, be it high inflation, the energy crisis, climate change, and geopolitical conflicts, how do you see the international landscape developing? And what's your message to the international community at this stage?
The current international landscape presents a complex mix of challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, we are seeing an increasing demand for greater representation and participation from emerging markets and developing countries in global affairs. However, this push for greater participation is also coming at a time when the world is experiencing high levels of uncertainty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded existing inequalities and exposed the need for greater global cooperation and solidarity. In addition, we are also seeing a rise in geopolitical tensions and conflicts, which are further complicating efforts to address these challenges.
In this context, my message to the international community is that we need to work together to build a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable global system. This means acknowledging the importance of diversity and representation, and ensuring that all countries have a voice in global affairs. It also means prioritizing cooperation over competition, and seeking to build bridges between different countries and regions.