(Photo Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
On 20 October, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed its support for expanding the membership of the BRICS strategic alliance, following reports that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is showing its desire to join the group.
“The People’s Republic of China (PRC), as this year’s BRICS president, actively supports the group in starting the membership expansion process and expanding BRICS + cooperation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed the desire of the KSA to be part of the BRICS.
The KSA is one of the world’s largest crude oil exporters, owning 15 percent of global oil reserves, and is a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
In September, Algeria also showed interest in joining the BRICS alliance, according to a letter sent by President Tebboune to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Similarly, Iran announced that it had submitted an official application for membership in the BRICS group, stressing that its accession to the group would add value to the organization and would benefit Iran.
Iran‘s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the group “is not a treaty or an international agreement. It has been based on a very creative mechanism with broad aspects.”
Since the launch of the BRICS group in 2009, which includes China, Russia, India, Brazil, and South Africa, Beijing has been seeking to develop a new economic model that ends a unipolar US hegemony and opens the door to a new multipolar financial strategy.
Amid the major political and economic transformations of the world since COVID-19, Beijing is trying to expand the base of the economic bloc by inviting several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE, to join the BRICS group.
Compared to the G7, the BRICS countries account for 40 percent of the world’s population and just over a quarter of the global GDP.
In 2017, China proposed a BRICS + cooperation. This concept provides an opportunity for more emerging markets and developing countries to seek cooperation under the BRICS mechanism, marking a new partnership stage as it is no longer limited to five member states.