China, a prominent member of the BRICS bloc, has thrown its support behind the expansion of the group, emphasizing its commitment to peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
In a show of unity and a bid to strengthen its global influence, the BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa have convened for their 15th annual summit in Johannesburg.
The three-day summit, themed “BRICS and Africa,” has garnered significant attention as interest in joining the group surges, and divisions over the ongoing Ukraine conflict become increasingly apparent.
President Xi Jinping, who could not attend the summit in person, had his sentiments echoed by his Commerce Minister Wang Wentao. “Hegemonism is not in China’s DNA,” Wang affirmed, emphasizing the nation’s dedication to a positive and stable global force for goodwill.
President Xi’s message at the summit was clear: the expansion of BRICS is not about taking sides or creating bloc confrontations, but rather about fostering peace, development, and a more just international order. “We will forge a stronger BRICS strategic partnership, actively advance membership expansion, and help make the international order more just and equitable,” President Xi’s speech read.
This vision, however, has been met with mixed reactions from the international community. Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor, expressed that the United States does not perceive BRICS as a geopolitical rival.
Instead, the U.S. aims to maintain strong positive relationships with BRICS members Brazil, India, and South Africa, while continuing to address concerns over China’s actions and Russia’s aggression.
The summit has brought to the forefront divisions between the Western nations and BRICS regarding the conflict in Ukraine. While South Africa, China, and India refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion, Brazil declined to support Western efforts by sending arms or imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is currently the target of an international arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, addressed the summit through a pre-recorded video, blaming sanctions for affecting the global economic situation.
In this atmosphere of diplomatic jostling, the BRICS nations are advocating for a multipolar world order that better reflects their collective interests and growing influence.
They are championing the establishment of their development bank as an alternative to existing international financial institutions and suggesting reduced reliance on the U.S. dollar in global trade.
With leaders like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in attendance, the BRICS summit underscores the shared aspirations of these nations, which represent 40 percent of the world’s population and diverse economic and political backgrounds.
As more than 40 countries express interest in joining from across the ‘Global South,’ the BRICS bloc’s significance, stature, and influence continue to grow, as noted by South African President Ramaphosa.
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