China lauds Russia’s leadership in expanding BRICS after historic enlargement

The BRICS summit hosted by Russia marks the first time the grouping is convening at its full strength after admitting Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as new members on January 1, 2024.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has commended Russia’s efforts as the 2024 chair of the newly enlarged BRICS group, saying Moscow has done huge work in setting up cooperation among the 10 member nations following the bloc’s historic expansion.

Wang made the remarks to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of a BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod this week.

The BRICS summit hosted by Russia marks the first time the grouping is convening at its full strength after admitting Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as new members on January 1, 2024. They joined the founding BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Wang expressed confidence that the Nizhny Novgorod meeting would lay a solid basis for the upcoming maiden BRICS summit of the expanded bloc, which he said was seeking to boost allied cooperation.

The Chinese minister emphasized that the BRICS expansion would play an increasingly important role in global governance, echoing the group’s ambitions to transform into a more influential voice in multilateral affairs.

The BRICS enlargement has been viewed as a strategic move to reshape global dynamics and challenge perceived Western economic hegemony. The new members give the grouping a foothold across three continents and control over crucial energy resources and supply chains.

However, the expansion has also raised questions about the bloc’s cohesion and ability to forge consensus on major issues given the diverse economic and political interests of its members.

As this year’s chair, Russia will be looked upon to provide leadership and a framework to integrate the new countries while tackling emergent challenges like climate change, post-pandemic recovery, and realignment of trade ties.