The Week: Xi Shows up for BRICS but Plans to SKip G20

It was a week of meetings and visits – and one planned future non-visit.

BRICS Leader’s Family Photo on the side line of the 10th BRICS Summit. (DIRCO, South Africa)

On Thursday, August 24th, the BRICS bloc of developing economies concluded its 2023 annual summit in Johannesburg with major developments in the group including invitations of membership to six additional countries, discussions of a common currency, and an agreement between India and China to de-escalate border tensions.

The de-escalation of tensions between China and India represents the first step in solving one of the biggest stumbling blocks to bilateral relations. It may lead to more cooperation between the two countries in the future, but India will likely continue to walk its neutral path as the U.S. has also been courting its favor, especially in military and security matters. Read more.

While Chinese President Xi Jinping was happy to show up to one multilateral, sources are saying he will not be attending the G20 leaders summit hosted in New Delhi this week. While it takes away one opportunity for a Xi-Biden summit, Xi may be eyeing a possible meeting with the U.S. president on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in San Francisco this November as a way to extend the time frame of preparation for both sides and to separate a meeting away from the Indian hosted summit that has a G20 specific agenda.

One thing Xi may want to bring up is an effort by state and federal lawmakers trying to restrict China from buying American farmland on the basis of national security and food security risks. Despite being a minute fraction of all foreign-owned land in the U.S., the acquisitions made by Chinese entities have raised concerns about the possibility that the Chinese government, using these corporations as conduits, could wield control over U.S. assets or gain entry to U.S.-based information.

In other news, China appears to be revisiting a plan to recruit elite foreign-trained scientists as the country moves toward semiconductor self-reliance amid U.S.-led export curbs.

And from the Quotables Department, some of our best this week:

“Xi’s decision not to attend [the G20] is an obvious affront to Modi’s G20 leadership but also highlights the true lack of cohesion among the Brics and undercuts the hype about the expanded Brics group.” – Daniel Price, former international economic affairs official in the George W Bush administration.

“I firmly believe that American farmland belongs to American farmers.” – Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa.

"Foreign adversaries and strategic competitors understand that acquiring top U.S. and Western talent is often just as good as acquiring the technology itself. When that recruitment creates inherent conflicts of interest or commitment, that can create risks to U.S. economic and national security." – Dean Boyd, spokesperson for the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center