BRICS Leaders Meet In South Africa

BRICS Leaders Meet In South Africa

Aug. 23, 2023, 7:20 a.m.

A meeting of the nations collectively known as BRICS -Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - has gotten underway in Johannesburg, South Africa. Leaders are hoping to bring more balance to the global order.

The bloc represents a quarter of the global economy and 40 percent of the world's population. Some hope BRICS might serve as an alternative to Western-led forums such as the Group of Seven. They have suggested an expansion in their ranks.

Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao stepped in for President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to speak to a forum of business leaders.

Wang said, "Today, the BRICS countries, together with more than 50 other countries, are gathering in South Africa, not to draw in anyone or select anyone, to pick sides, or to engage in a confrontation between camps, but to create a grand pattern of peaceful development."

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not present at the meeting. If he attended, he would risk being arrested on charges of war crimes. Instead, he delivered a recorded message, saying BRICS works for the "global majority."

Putin said, "We cooperate on the principles of equality, partnership support, respect for each other's interests. And this is the essence of the future-oriented strategic course of our association, a course that meets the aspirations of the main part of the global community."

BRICS leaders have not agreed on any criteria for new membership. However, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the group is not meant to rival wealthy economies.

US officials echo that notion, saying this is a "very diverse collection of countries" with different points of view.

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