HomeExpansionismChina Pulls U.S. Ally Saudi Arabia into the BRICS Economic Bloc

China Pulls U.S. Ally Saudi Arabia into the BRICS Economic Bloc

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Six countries, including U.S. ally Saudi Arabia and U.S. foe Iran, are set to join the influential BRICS economic bloc by January 1, 2024. This expansion brings together developing economies from various parts of the world under one umbrella, marking a significant moment for international relations.

BRICS, which initially included Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, has represented around 40% of the world’s population and contributed to more than a quarter of the global GDP. With the inclusion of the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, this percentage is bound to increase.

This decision to expand came after intense two-day talks at a summit in Johannesburg. The discussion saw participation from prominent leaders like Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Russian President Vladimir Putin joined virtually due to an arrest warrant against him related to the Ukraine conflict.

“This membership expansion is historic,” commented Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He emphasized that it signifies the determination of BRICS countries to stand united for development. He further praised how China has always supported developing countries through various challenges.

However, an interesting twist was Saudi Arabia’s hesitation. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan mentioned that while the kingdom values the invitation, they will thoroughly review the details before making a final decision. Saudi Arabia’s potential membership is especially noteworthy given its vast resources, wealth, and strategic location between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

BRICS, since its inception, has aimed to amplify the voice of the Global South. The inclusion of these six countries emphasizes the bloc’s commitment to creating a fairer world order. The leaders present called for reforms of major international institutions like the United Nations, the IMF, and the World Bank, which they perceive as biased towards Western interests.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres supported these sentiments. He highlighted the financial challenges faced by African countries, pointing out they often pay considerably more for borrowing than the U.S. or wealthy European countries.

It remains unclear whether joining this organization will alter Saudi Arabia’s or any other member’s international affiliations. However, this platform presents an opportunity for China to wield its influence, likely with the intention of steering them away from U.S. ties.

With more than 20 countries having shown interest in joining BRICS, this expansion is an indicator of the bloc’s appeal as an alternative to the current global financial architecture. However, this move also seems to broaden China and Russia’s influence, especially in the Persian Gulf.

Recent diplomatic engagements between the Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran, facilitated by China, signal a shift in global alliances. China’s increasing involvement in the Gulf and its pursuit of closer relations with all three nations, especially for oil imports, are changing the geopolitical landscape.

The inclusion of these countries into BRICS might challenge the established world order. With tensions between Russia, China, and the West becoming more evident, this expansion may redefine the balance of global power.

The BRICS expansion is more than just adding members; it’s about shaping the future of global relations, with China playing a pivotal role.

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