The 14th BRICS Summit will kick off on Thursday. The Summit will be held in virtual format under the theme of "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development." When the world is plagued by a pandemic, hunger, war, and division among many others, the BRICS members and a big number of emerging markets and developing countries will jointly demonstrate to the world the BRICS spirit of "openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation."
On the occasion of the Summit, the Global Times interviewed Argentina's Ambassador to China Sabino Vaca Narvaja and Gert Grobler, a former senior South African diplomat, on the importance they attach to the multilateral mechanism.
On the occasion of the upcoming 14th BRICS summit, Argentina's Ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja, told the Global Times that Argentina hopes to become a BRICS member as soon as possible, and expects all parties to agree on a formal plan on BRICS' membership expansion at the summit this week.
Ambassador Narvaja noted that the BRICS cooperation mechanism has profound significance for the building of a more balanced global order where cooperation will be unconditional and for mutual benefit. If Argentina joins BRICS, this move would also be very conducive to the further development of China-Latin America relations, he said.
The BRICS cooperation mechanism was first established in 2009 by China, Russia, Brazil, and India, with South Africa joining in 2011. Since then, the BRICS mechanism has not expanded to include new members. Earlier this year, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said he hoped Argentina could be included as a new member.
Ambassador Narvaja revealed that President Fernandez will also be invited to attend the BRICS' High-level Dialogue on Global Development to be held in Beijing virtually. "Argentina is very pleased to be invited," he told the Global Times. The ambassador said his country attaches great importance to the BRICS cooperation mechanism.
Analysts pointed out that the present global governance system has become fragmented, and developed countries are witnessing rising inflation and financial hardship. As a powerful global force, the BRICS mechanism will further develop and grow, and Argentina hopes to be part of it. An article from news agency Agencia Latinoamericana de Informacion, Ecuador (ALAI) said the multilateralism advocated by BRICS members is based on a new type of international relations built on mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, rather than war or intervention. It is hoped that multilateral initiatives will play a key role in supporting Latin American countries on their path toward independence, peace, and multilateralism.
"The BRICS cooperation mechanism is of great significance for the building of a new, more multipolar, and balanced world," Narvaja told the Global Times. "We are interested in joining BRICS because it is a cooperation mechanism composed entirely of emerging economies. There are no strings attached and all cooperation is mutually beneficial." "I have noticed that some analysts believe that the economic influence of BRICS countries is forecast to surpass that of the G7. If this mechanism can be further expanded, its influence and status in the international order will definitely rise," said the ambassador.
US news publication Foreign Policy published an article in May titled "Argentina's embrace of China should be a wake-up call." It pointed out the threat of boycotts of the ninth Summit of the Americas. Meanwhile, many Latin American countries, including Argentina, are turning to Asia for their economic and developmental needs.
In February, Argentina became a member of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). So far, 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean region have joined in the BRI.
In the context of increasingly fierce competition between China and the US, will Argentina face diplomatic pressure due to its frequent interactions with China, Russia, and other non-US-aligned countries? In response to this question, Narvaja told the Global Times that Argentina adheres to an independent foreign policy and has maintained a comprehensive strategic partnership with China and close cooperation with other BRICS countries over the years.
Analysts said that the US and BRICS are in competition in Latin America. And it seems that Latin America is leaning toward BRICS. Argentina, for example, has shown strong interest in China-proposed initiatives to expand cooperation, and Uruguay has been admitted to the BRICS Development Bank. BRICS can bring real benefits for Latin America.
"In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was BRICS countries that gave Argentina very crucial assistance," he said. "It was China and Russia that came to our aid at a difficult time when Argentina was having difficulty getting COVID-19 vaccines."
The envoy also said he did not want any party to attach strings to cooperation between Latin America and other countries, and that Argentina was opposed to unilateral economic or technical sanctions against any country.
Narvaja said as the country that currently holds the Pro Tempore presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Argentina believes that CELAC and BRICS have huge potential for cooperation. "The vast majority of Latin American countries have a very high interest in developing relations with Asia, especially China, because the two sides have strong economic complementarity, especially in the field of infrastructure," he said. "So we can see that many Latin American countries have joined the BRI."