Xi says China seeks a more just and equitable international order and rejects ‘bloc confrontation’.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for an expansion of the BRICS grouping of emerging economies to build a more just and equitable international order, insisting “hegemonism is not in China’s DNA”.
In a speech delivered on his behalf at the start of BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday, Xi said China had no wish to engage in great power competition or create “bloc confrontation”.
“China stands firmly on the right side of history and believes a just cause should be pursued for the common good,” Xi said at a business forum, according to remarks delivered by Commerce Minister Wang Wentao.
Xi said BRICS would continue to grow “whatever resistance there may be.”
“Right now, changes in the world, in our times, and in history are unfolding in ways like never before, bringing human society to a critical juncture,” he said.
It was not clear why Xi did not participate in the event, which was attended by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Xi earlier met summit host Ramaphosa, telling his counterpart their countries stood at a “new historical starting point”.
China and Russia, both of which have been heavily sanctioned by the United States, have been keen to expand BRICS to develop a counter to Western dominance over international institutions and affairs.
Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Argentina and Egypt are among the countries that have expressed interest in joining the bloc – currently made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – which represents about 40 percent of the world’s population and more than 25 percent of the global economy.
The grouping, however, is dividend on expansion, with Brazil and India widely seen as more ambivalent about growing the bloc.
In a possible sign of differing visions for the bloc, Brazil’s Lula said BRICS did not seek to be a “counterpoint to the G7, G20 or the United States”.
“We just want to organise ourselves,” Lula said during a social media broadcast.
Apart from enlarging membership, the summit is also set to discuss ways to boost the use of local currencies in trade and financial transactions to lessen dependency on the US dollar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is not attending the summit in person, said in a pre-recorded statement that the de-dollarization of the bloc’s economic times was “irreversible” and gaining momentum.
Russia’s economy has been battered by sweeping Western sanctions imposed in response to Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Putin, who is wanted under an international arrest warrant for alleged war crimes, is being represented at the BRICS summit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.