A total of 47 countries have applied to become founding members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
April 1 marks the deadline for applications to join the AIIB, which is seen as a potential rival to both the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank. Three submissions received on the final day included one from Taiwan. According to reports, around 30 applications have already been approved.
Despite efforts by the US to dissuade applicants, those seeking founding member status include traditional US allies such as the UK, Australia, South Korea, France and Germany. “The US thought they’d have more people with them in opposition to the AIIB,” said one Beijing-based western executive quoted in reports. “They misread the situation.”
However, Japan is notably absent from the list of applicants. Taro Aso, Japan’s finance minister said that until the AIIB’s governance standards were secured, “Japan has no choice but to be very cautious about joining”.
US Treasury secretary Jack Lew said Washington also remained concerned about the AIIB’s standards but acknowledged that there was “enough infrastructure need for new and existing institutions”. He added that the US would be willing to work with the AIIB through existing financial institutions such as the ADB and the World Bank.
The bank, which will be headquartered in Beijing, will have initial capital of US$50bn.
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