China says it seeks to expand the BRICS block of emerging economies in a move that stands to significantly boost the group’s collective economic power.
"China proposes to start the BRICS expansion process, explore the criteria and procedures for the expansion, and gradually form a consensus," China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told an online meeting of BRICS’ top diplomats on Thursday.
The group emerged in 2009 gathering Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
Potential expansion of the BRICS’ membership would be the biggest shakeup of the powerful group’s structure since 2009, when it incorporated South Africa.
Last month, Russia called on the group’s members to integrate their payment systems and use their respective national currencies for intra-organizational trade.
The call came amid the West’s unprecedented anti-Russia sanctions over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. The coercive economic measures have cut some Russian banks off from the SWIFT interbank messaging and financial system.
Back then, Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov said the economy of the globe had suffered greatly due to the bans. Siluanov said the current economic crisis necessitated a joint effort by the BRICS to put in place exigency measures to control the damage and end the current global economic crisis.
In the past, BRICS’ members have also called for comprehensive reforms in the United Nations and its subsidiaries, in the face of rising protectionism and unilateralism.
Back in 2019, the body’s members held a summit that ended in issuance of a declaration that called for an overhaul in the UN, the UN Security Council, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Such overhaul, they said, would boost the chances of international “multilateralism and cooperation of sovereign states to maintain peace and security, and advance sustainable development.”