Millennium Post

Britain foxes ally USA, seeks to join China-backed Asian bank

While US officials reportedly complained over the British move saying it has taken a unilateral decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei welcomed UK’s move saying China will follow principles of openness and transparency.

The AIIB has an authorised capital of $100 billion and the initial subscribed capital of $50 billion. India along with 26 other countries joined the bank as its founding members when it was formally set up last year by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

South Korea, Japan and Australia stayed away reportedly on the advice of the US. About US criticism that the new bank could be a rival to Japan-led Asia Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank, Hong said the bank will follow the principles of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and fairness to design its governance structure and operational policies.

“It will learn from good practices of multilateral development banks and take detour from their path so as to reduce the cost and increase costs and operational efficiency,” he said.

The AIIB will complement existing multilateral development banks, Hong said adding that it would better serve the member states and support the infrastructure building and economic development in Asia.

About Washington’s reported efforts to persuade its allies not to join the bank, Hong said the international community is responding well to AIIB. “A number of countries want to join and preparation are going on. We welcome all countries to join us,” he said. If all goes well, the UK will officially become a prospective member by end of this month, Hong said parrying a question what China had offered in return to get the prime western country like Britain to join the new bank, expected to be functional later this year.

The Beijing-based AIIB is headed by a Chinese official. It is in addition to $40-billion Silk Road fund set up by China and the $50-billion BRICS Development Bank in which Beijing is an
active member.

Together the three were expected to fuel significant amount of investments especially in Asia. The British move has reportedly riled the US. The Financial Times reported that US officials had complained about the British move. The report cited an unnamed US administration official saying that the British decision was taken after “virtually no consultation with the US”.
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