NEW DELHI (Reuters/Web Desk) – China’s Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Friday in New Delhi that India is free to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), adding that it will increase commerce between India and China, which is expanding “very quickly.” Reuters.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is supported by China, unites 15 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and 10 ASEAN member states.

It’s interesting that the announcement follows the BRICS group of emerging countries’ Thursday agreement to enter Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Argentina in a move intended to speed up its efforts to reshape an outmoded global order.

As dozens more nations expressed interest in joining a club they think would level the playing field in the world, BRICS leaders left the door open to future expansions by voting in favor of an expansion – the bloc’s first in 13 years.

According to Reuters, tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have increased since fighting at a contentious border location in Ladakh, in the western Himalayas, in June 2020 resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers.

Speaking on a panel at the G20’s “Business 20 Summit,” Shouwen said that it was up to India to decide whether or not to join the RCEP and that the door was “always open.”

On the fringes of the BRICS conference, which took place this week in Johannesburg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Xi Jinping of China about India’s worries over unresolved border disputes.

India’s foreign secretary told reporters on Thursday that both parties have decided to further up their efforts to de-escalate and disengage.

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, which said the meeting was at Modi’s request, Xi told Modi that enhancing China-India ties suited the interests of both nations and was beneficial to peace, stability, and prosperity.

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