UPDATE - China, India back BRICS expansion at Johannesburg summit

UPDATE - China, India back BRICS expansion at Johannesburg summit

More nations have expressed interest in joining BRICS, home to more than 40% of world population

UPDATES WITH STATEMENT BY CHINESE PRESIDENT, CHANGES HEADLINE, DECK, LEAD, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) – China and India on Wednesday supported expansion of the BRICS economic bloc, with President Xi Jinping calling for “speedy” efforts in this regard.

Addressing the 15th BRICS summit in South Africa’s commercial capital Johannesburg, Xi urged for efforts “to promote a more just and reasonable global governance," adding that “development is an inalienable right of all countries, not a privilege of a few."

“It is unacceptable to package one’s own rules and regulations as international norms,” Xi said.

He called for increasing the representation and voice of developing countries, saying: "We need to act on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation to bring more countries into the BRICS family, and make global governance more just and equitable."

The Chinese leader said BRICS members need to champion the "spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence between civilizations, and promote respect" of all countries in independently choosing their modernization paths.

BRICS is an economic bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. It currently makes up a quarter of the global economy and is home to more than 40% of the world’s population. Many countries are said to have expressed interest in joining the bloc, which seems divided on the expansion.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also backed the idea of enlarging the group's membership, saying New Delhi "fully supports the expansion of BRICS membership and we welcome moving forward on this based on consensus."

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