Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to South Africa next week, and will also attend the Brics summit there, South African officials confirm.
Brics is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and is seen by some as an alternative to the G7 group of developed nations.
Xi’s trip will be his second international one this year, after paying an official state visit to Russia in March.
It comes as leaders of Brics states are due to meet next week, with part of the agenda being the possible future expansion the group’s membership. A number of African countries, including Algeria, Egypt and Ethiopia, have previously expressed a desire to join the bloc.
The summit had earlier been clouded by questions on whether Russia’s president would personally attend, but it was later confirmed by South Africa’s presidency that he would not.
If Putin had left Russian soil, he would have been subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant due to the war in Ukraine – and South Africa is an ICC signatory and therefore obliged to help in his arrest.