President Xi’s Economy-Focused Leadership Model

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: On September 3, the heads of the BRICS states gathered for a summit. At the event, Chinese President Xi Jinping once again presented his way of thinking about his role in the global arena, a role he believes should focus on economic and trade issues. His approach downplays the issues of North Korea’s nuclear pursuit and the persistent global problem of terrorism, raising questions about his ability – or indeed his desire – to take on a world leadership position. 

On September 3, the heads of the BRICS states gathered for a two-day summit in the port city of Xiamen in southeastern China. The organization consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which together account for about a third of the global economy. The main topics discussed at the summit were terrorism, the common aspiration of all parties to change the UN structure, and international trade. Alongside the summit’s main forum, the leaders also held one-on-one meetings with heads of states, including some, like Mexico and Egypt, which are not BRICS members.

The summit was hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, leader of the organization’s most powerful member. Xi used the summit to promote his new model of world leadership, a model that outspokenly focuses on financial and trade issues. During his speech at the summit, he said, “We must push towards an open global economy and encourage the liberalization of global trade.”

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