by S’Thembile Cele

India and China are set to host bilateral talks on the sidelines of the BRICS Emerging Market Powers Summit in Johannesburg next week as their standoff over a disputed border continues.

Ahead of the Aug. 22-24 summit, Chen Xiaodong, China’s ambassador to South Africa, told reporters in the capital Pretoria on Friday: “I believe that as two countries, as two countries, we will have direct talks, direct meetings. ” , “I can’t say we have tension, but as neighbors we have many common interests and at the same time we have some problems.”

This week, Indian and Chinese army commanders agreed to work swiftly towards de-escalating their border dispute, which also included a deadly clash in 2020. Although there was no breakthrough in the talks, they opened the door for progress in talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping. Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The expansion of the bloc is due to be discussed at a summit of leaders of BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – with dozens of countries queuing up to join. India and Brazil initially expressed reservations about the expansion, but later agreed on the condition that an agreement on terms and criteria is reached.

Envoys from the five countries began meeting on Thursday to finalize an agreement that will be sent to foreign ministers and eventually to leaders for approval.

“China firmly supports BRICS expansion,” Chen said. “I don’t know how many countries will join BRICS this time, but definitely there will be good progress, good results for expansion.”

India’s Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment.

first published: 18 August 2023 | 11:41 PM First

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