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China pushes ahead with regional bank

Written By vibykhmer on Friday, October 24, 2014 | 4:55 AM

BEIJING - China pushed ahead with the creation of its proposed US$50-billion Asia regional bank by signing a memorandum on Friday with 21 countries, which did not include South Korea, Australia and Indonesia. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, centre, in a photo op with guests of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. (AFP photo)

The proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, first put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October last year, is a key component of China's efforts to expand its regional influence.
The bank, a potential rival to existing institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, has been opposed by the US, which has asked its allies not to participate, the New York Times reported earlier this month.
The 21 "prospective founding member countries" at Friday's signing ceremony were Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China and India.
Xi told delegates from the countries that all Asian nations "understand the importance of seeking strength through unity" and the AIIB would welcome participation by all countries, either from within or outside  Asia.
South Korea and Australia had previously attended preparatory talks for the regional bank last month, according to the Chinese Ministry of Finance's website. US Secretary of State John Kerry requested at a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Jakarta this week that Australia not join the bank, the Australian Financial Review reported.
Thai Finance Minister Sommai Phasee signed the memorandum of understanding for the AIIB two days earlier during the Apec Finance Ministers' Meeting, said Kritsada Jinavijarana, director of the Thai Finance Ministry's Fiscal Policy Office.
Thai Finance Minister Sommai Phasee (seated right) signs the MoU for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing on Oct 22, 2014 while his Malaysian and Philippine counterparts, Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah (seated left) and Cesar Purisima (seated centre), look on. (Finance Ministry photo)


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