China's President Xi Jinping congratulated the new BRICS member countries saying their inclusion was "historic" announced in a joint declaration by the existing five-member nations at the conclusion of their summit in Johannesburg.  

Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have been invited to become full members of BRICS and would be admitted as members on January 1, 2024.  

Xi has said during the summit that an expansion would give the group an even bigger voice in world affairs, and urged the BRICS to "accelerate" the expansion process. 

The summit was headlined by its five members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa who all publicly supported their group's expansion.

“This membership expansion is historic," Xi said at a media briefing called to issue the declaration of the expansion.

"It shows the determination of BRICS countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries. It meets the expectation of the international community and the common interest of emerging market countries and developing countries," he said.

Analysts have said China may be the biggest winner of a larger BRICS as this could strengthen its hand as it grapples with the US over trade and geopolitics.  

All the other leaders in BRICS - South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Russia's Vladimir Putin - have also backed the expansionist plans.   

The five BRICS countries already account for more than 40% of the world population and about 26% of the global economy, and the planned expansion would give the group an even bigger portion of the global economy and stronger voice in world affairs. 

Xi said the expansion was a new starting point for BRICS cooperation, saying it would bring new vigour to the group and strengthen efforts for world peace and development. 

"I am confident as long as we work with a common purpose there's a lot that the BRICS cooperation can achieve and the future will be bright for BRICS countries," Xi said. 

"Let us work together to write a new chapter of emerging market countries and developing countries working together in unity for development," he said.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )