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Elizabeth Allen

NextImg:New World Order? Russia, China Seek 'Rebalancing' of World Power with Alternative to G-7

Foreign ministers from the China and Russia-led economic bloc made it clear that their goal is to rebalance global power and establish a “multipolar” dynamic with themselves at the center. The bloc, referred to as BRICS, current members are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa

“In the heart of the challenges we face lies economic concentration that leaves many nations at the mercy of a few,” asserted Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Indian Minister of External Affairs, following the BRICS countries’ meeting.

Jaishankar stressed the need for the five-member group to “send a resolute message that the world is becoming multipolar, undergoing a rebalance, and that old approaches are inadequate for new circumstances.”

The recently held BRICS meeting in Cape Town focused on potential membership expansion and the prospect of an alternative currency to safeguard against sanctions with secondary effects on countries, similar to the ones imposed on Russia due to its Ukraine invasion.

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Chinese Vice Minister Ma Zhaoxu expressed staunch support for inviting more countries to join the bloc, aiming to enhance its influence and power.

“I believe the enlargement of BRICS will be beneficial to the BRICS countries,” he said, claiming the group was “inclusive … in sharp contrast to some countries’ small circle.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed that about a dozen nations have expressed interest in joining, while Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s BRICS ambassador, shared that European countries have inquired about membership, according to South African outlet News 24.

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Among the potential new members are Iran and Saudi Arabia, both of whom were represented at the BRICS meeting in Cape Town. Additionally, Venezuela, Argentina, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates aspire to join the group.

BRICS has emerged as an alternative to the G7, which recently convened in Japan for its annual summit. Initially, a loosely connected conglomerate, the bloc has taken on a more solid form in recent years, thanks to China and Russia’s efforts to refocus global power dynamics.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira hailed the group as an “essential mechanism” to counterbalance the Western influence of the G7, consisting of the United States, Japan, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany.

However, a pressing question overshadowed the meeting: whether South Africa would be obliged to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin. The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest, accusing him of war crimes related to the abduction of children during the Ukraine conflict.

As a signatory to the 1998 Rome Statute, South Africa would likely be compelled to apprehend Putin if he attended any future meetings within its borders. However, officials explored the possibility of granting diplomatic immunity to Putin to circumvent this issue.

“Russia places tremendous importance on the development of this integration format. Russia will participate in this summit at an appropriate level,” stated Dmitry Peskov, the Russian press secretary, during a recent press conference.

“Naturally, we expect that partner countries in such a significant format will not be guided by unlawful decisions at the very least,” Peskov continued.

In response to concerns, Clayson Monyela, head of South Africa’s public diplomacy, clarified on Tuesday that granting immunity to officials attending international conferences, regardless of their level of participation, is standard practice for Cape Town and all countries involved.

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