With the eyes of the world on the G7, Beijing reminded the West that it's outnumbered by its competitors
Amid high-profile meetings of the G7 and NATO leaders, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted an image on Tuesday pointing out that despite being referred to as "international society," the G7 countries actually account for a small percentage of the world's population.
Depicting the leaders of the G7 countries alongside the leaders of the BRICS nations, the image noted that the population of the former amounts to 777 million, while the BRICS countries are home to 3.2 billion people.
"So next time when they talk about 'international society,' you know what they mean..." Zhao wrote.
After the summit in Germany over the weekend, the G7 leaders departed for Madrid, where the US-led NATO alliance is meeting to draft its new Strategic Concept - a document that outlines its mission and stance toward non-members. In its first update since 2010, the document will address China as a "challenge," and according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, "will make clear that allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security."
Just days before the G7 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the leaders of Brazil, India, and South Africa, met virtually for the less-reported summit of the BRICS nations. The group, denoted by an acronym composed from the first letter of its member nations' names, includes four of the world's top ten economies and represents more than 40% of the planet's population and 30% of its GDP.
While the BRICS group is not a formal alliance in a military or economic sense, its members are often united in opposition to the Western consensus. Save for Brazil, none of the BRICS nations voted with the US and its allies to condemn Russia's military operation in Ukraine at the UN General Assembly in March, for example, and China and India have stepped up their trade links with Russia since then.
The bloc may soon expand too. Argentina and Iran applied last week for membership, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry describing BRICS as a "very creative mechanism with broad aspects," and Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez said that the platform could "implement an agenda for the future that will lead to a better and fairer time."
During the BRICS summit last Wednesday, Putin said that the five-member group was working on setting up a new global reserve currency "based on a basket of currencies of our countries."