China reaffirms support for new nations joining BRICS as Argentina signals rejection

BEIJING: China reaffirmed its support on Monday (Nov 20) for new countries joining the BRICS grouping of developing nations, even as Argentina’s likely next foreign minister was quoted as saying that her country would no longer do so.

Argentina was among six countries invited to become new members of the BRICS at a summit held in South Africa in August, part of the grouping’s push to reshuffle a Western-dominated world order it sees as outdated.

However, Russia’s RIA news agency cited Diana Mondino, an economist tipped to become foreign minister in the administration of Argentina’s newly-elected Javier Milei, as saying that her country would not now join the BRICS group.

Mao Ning, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, told a press briefing that she was not aware of Mondino’s reported comments.

“What I want to say is that the BRICS cooperation mechanism is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and uphold common interests,” Mao said.

“BRICS is also an open platform and we welcome any interested country to become a member of the BRICS family.”

Milei, a right-wing libertarian who has sharply criticised China and the China-led BRICS group, was elected Argentina’s new president on Sunday.

Milei and Mondino had both opposed Argentina joining the bloc, which also includes Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

“We don’t understand what the benefit (of joining BRICS) is for Argentina at the moment. If it later turns out that there is a benefit, we will analyse it,” she told the RIA news agency.

China and Russia are pushing for the expansion of the BRICS grouping as they seek to counter Western economic dominance.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are the other five countries invited at the August summit to join the BRICS grouping.