Business / Economy

S. Korea decides to join China-proposed AIIB

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-27 10:06

S. Korea decides to join China-proposed AIIB

The signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding on establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is held in Beijing, Oct 24 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

SEOUL -- South Korea on Thursday decided to join the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as one of prospective founding members, the country's finance ministry said.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a statement that the South Korean government decided on it after making discussions on the issue among related ministries, before sending a letter about the decision to China.

If South Korea is allowed by other prospective founding members to join the AIIB, the country is expected to sign a formal agreement on it around June, before finally becoming one of founding members of the AIIB, according to the ministry.

The AIIB is a newly-launched multilateral development bank to help finance infrastructure projects in Asia for the sustainable growth and social development in the region, the ministry said.

According to the Asia Development Bank (ADB) data, Asia's infrastructure demand is expected to reach some $730 billion per year by 2020, but the supply of investment funds from the World Bank and the ADB falls far short of the demand.

Thus, the AIIB aims to strengthen economic and financial cooperation among countries in the region and pioneer economic development in the region by focusing on providing funds deficient in the regional development amid the complementary relationship with the existing multilateral development banks, the ministry said.

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Reports on AIIB veto right denied by Zheng Yangpeng, China Daily

China on Wednesday denied reports that it had given up the veto power in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, saying it is premature to discuss the matter.

"Participant countries are still negotiating the articles of the association ... as the number of participants grows, it is natural that every country's share in the organization will decline. It is pointless to discuss the issue before the articles have been formulated," Shi Yaobin, vice-minister of finance, said in a written question-and-answer format published on the ministry's website.

Citing anonymous insiders, The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that Chinese negotiators persuaded key European countries to break with Washington and line up as founding members of the new bank by promising to relinquish China's veto power.

The list of founding members of the bank has been under the spotlight after the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria applied to join the AIIB in the past two weeks. It is also likely that Australia and South Korea will seek the founding member status before the deadline. AIIB already has 27 prospective founding members.

Shi said in Wednesday's statement that participants have set an application deadline of March 31. It would take about two weeks to make a decision and the final list of founding members will be settled as early as April 15. After that date, countries could still apply to join as ordinary members.

"The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development bank. China welcomes all countries to join and make contributions to infrastructure improvement in Asia," Shi said.

"However, China will respect their decision whether or when to join," he said.

Shi also said China is willing to strengthen communication with them under bilateral or multilateral economic dialogue mechanisms and cooperate with existing multilateral organizations.


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