(Bloomberg) -- Argentina won’t join the China-led BRICS bloc during Javier Milei’s presidency, his incoming top diplomat said, underscoring the significant foreign policy shift his administration plans once in office.
“We won’t go into the BRICS,” Diana Mondino, Milei’s pick for foreign affairs minister, wrote Thursday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Speaking to journalists at an event earlier in Buenos Aires, Mondino cast doubt on the value of the group, which includes China and Brazil, Argentina’s top two commercial partners. “If the BRICS are already our primary trading partners, what’s the difference?” she said.
Milei has signaled he plans to align Argentina’s interests with the US when he takes office on Dec. 10. While his team has walked back some of the aggressive rhetoric about China and Brazil that he used while campaigning, spurning BRICS would move Argentina away from a drive led by Beijing and others to champion emerging markets.
Read: How BRICS Became a Club That’s Inviting New Members: QuickTake
Argentina’s current government led by President Alberto Fernandez lobbied hard to join the bloc that also includes Russia, India and South Africa. BRICS has also been seeking to add multiple members next year, including Argentina.
China has been a major proponent of the bloc that was officially formed in 2009-2010, largely to counter what it calls US “hegemony.” BRICS has even discussed a common currency, though little progress has been made on that idea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin avoided directly answering a question about Mondino’s remarks when asked about them at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.
Instead, he said “BRICS is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and defend shared interests.”
Also: China Congratulates Argentina’s Milei Despite ‘Assassin’ Insult
--With assistance from Dan Murtaugh.
(Updates with comment from China’s Foreign Ministry.)
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