In a move to improve strategic relations, China has vowed to support South Africa in successfully hosting the BRICS summit this year.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Wang Wenbin was questioned about the venue of this year's summit, asking if South Africa has requested to move the event from Johannesburg to China.

The spokesperson immediately shut down the rumors, saying, "I am not aware of what you said. We have noted that South Africa already issued a notice to grant diplomatic immunities to attendees of the upcoming BRICS Summit," as per the official website of China.

"China attaches great importance to the progress of BRICS cooperation and supports this year's host country South Africa in hosting a successful summit and sending a positive message of solidarity and cooperation," he added.

China and South Africa have had a diplomatic relationship since 1998. Over the past couple of decades, both countries have collaborated in several sectors including mining, infrastructure development, finance, agriculture, and manufacturing.

The upcoming BRICS summit will be held in August. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation revealed last month that the upcoming BRICS summit will be a protected event, while noting the decision had nothing to do with the attendance of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit has become a global issue, considering the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Putin is supposed to attend the meeting as Russia is part of BRICS, which also comprises Brazil, India, China, and South Africa.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), on the other hand, issued an arrest warrant against him on March 18. ICC is expecting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to arrest Putin as soon as he enters the country.

Meanwhile, South Africa came under fire last month when the United States accused the former of supplying weapons to Russia, following which Ramaphosa appointed a panel of three members to investigate the matter.

The panel of three members includes Judge Phineas Mojapelo, Advocate Leah Gcabashe SC, and former Deputy Minister of Basic Education of the Government of South Africa, Enver Surty. Within six weeks, the panel is supposed to finalize its investigation and is expected to submit the report within two weeks to the President.

As far as the Russia and Ukraine conflict is concerned, South Africa and China have taken a neutral stance. In fact, President Ramaphosa alongside six other African heads are going to visit Kyiv and Moscow to listen to both sides and understand what they want, so that this conflict can be resolved peacefully.

Illustration picture of China and Russia flags