Chinese President Xi Jinping said Sunday that emerging market and developing countries are playing an ever greater role in international affairs. [Special Coverage]
Xi made the remarks in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum in the southeastern city of Xiamen.
Calling BRICS cooperation "a natural choice" made by the five countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Xi said the bloc has become a bright spot in the global economy in the past decade.
Together, the five accounted for 23 percent of the 2016 global economy, almost double their share in 2006, and contributed to more than half of global growth.
Xi said the past decade has seen the countries making headway in pursuing common development, with their combined GDP having grown 179 percent, trade increased 94 percent while urban population expanded 28 percent during the period.
The bloc has contributed significantly to stabilizing the global economy and returning it to growth, and has delivered tangible benefits to more than three billion people, he said.
"Leveraging our respective strengths and converging interests, we have put in place a leaders-driven cooperation framework that covers wide-ranging areas and multiple levels," Xi said.
The New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement have provided financing support for BRICS infrastructure building and sustainable development, contributing to enhanced global economic governance and the building of an international financial safety net, he said.
The leaders of the five countries will meet at the ninth BRICS summit in Xiamen from Sept. 3 to 5.
An important side-event of the BRICS summit, the forum serves as a platform for business leaders to discuss issues of common concern, build consensus and raise policy suggestions.
Coined by former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill in 2001, the term "BRIC" referred to Brazil, Russia, India and China, four emerging economies with fast growth and great potential.
The BRIC grouping was formally established in 2006. In 2010, South Africa joined the group, and the acronym was changed to BRICS.