Chinese leader Xi Jinping was set to arrive in South Africa to lead a Chinese push to expand the Brics emerging-market bloc, ahead of a gathering in Johannesburg of the leaders of dozens of developing nations, reports the Financial Times. The Chinese leader will pay a state visit to South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, as the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa consider opening the forum up to new members at a summit that will test Beijing’s ambitions to remake the grouping.
Xi, making only his second overseas trip this year and with troubles mounting over a domestic economic slowdown, said in an article published in South African newspapers on Monday that “more and more countries are knocking on the door of Brics, aspiring to join our co-operation.”
China is pushing for an expanded membership that could include Argentina, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and about 20 other governments that have formally applied, according to people briefed on Beijing’s position. This would meet China’s ambitions to build a more formidable rival to the G7, they added.