57 Countries Join As Founding Members Of AIIB
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India and many Western nations are among the 57 founding members of the $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), while the US and Japan have stayed away from the China-backed multilateral lender, according to the list of members released on Wednesday.
Though the deadline for founding membership application has expired, the bank will continue to accept new members, as the AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development bank, China's Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said.
Backing the Chinese initiative, India was one of the first countries to have signed up for the bank expected to offer stiff competition to other financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The 57 prospective founding members cover five regions, including Asia, Oceania, Europe, Latin America and Africa, Shi said.
The AIIB is the first Asian bank to have a new banking system that is independent of the dominance of founding member-states of the international Bretton Woods system.
Countries that have been accepted as founding members of the AIIB include China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Maldives, Britain, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.
The US and Japan have abstained from joining the AIIB, but expressed their cooperation.
Although Taiwan was rejected as a founding member of the AIIB, Ma Xiaotian, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a press conference that the mainland would consider "constructive opinions from all sides" regarding Taiwan's identity as a member, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Share Of Asia
China could have outsized influence over the bank under a proposed shareholding structure.
The group will meet this week on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the US capital, said an Indian government official familiar with the plan.
China has proposed that Asian nations own three-quarters of the AIIB, a larger overall stake than would be warranted were ownership decided by economic weightings alone, given European heavyweights Germany, France, Britain and Italy are also members.
Each Asian member will then be allotted a share of that 75 per cent quota based on their economic size, two Japanese sources said - a formula that would guarantee China the largest single voice inside the bank.
China has outlined details of the bank to Japan in an effort to get Tokyo to sign up, the sources said. However, Tokyo remains non-committal due to its close relationship with the United States, which has urged nations to be wary of the AIIB.
"Looking at GDP-based contributions, if the No. 1 and No. 3 (the United States and Japan) aren't in, then China will have an overwhelmingly large quota and voice," said one Japanese official. "No country would be able to challenge China. If Japan were in, it would have considerable influence."
Jin Liqun, secretary-general of China's interim secretariat which is establishing the AIIB, said at a forum in Singapore on Saturday that although China would have the biggest share in the bank, it would not dominate its operations.
"AIIB is a bank, not a political organisation or political alliance," Jin was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua news agency. He said the AIIB would be "clean, lean and green".