China-led AIIB to have almost 100 members by year-end

AIIB President Jin Liqun
AIIB President Jin Liqun

BEIJING • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will grow its membership to nearly 100 countries and regions by the end of the year, making it a truly international financial institution, AIIB president Jin Liqun said yesterday.

Up to 30 countries are waiting to join the AIIB and about 20 of them have expressed "firm commitment", he said.

The AIIB chief was speaking to visiting editors from major Asian media outlets gathered in Beijing for the annual board meeting of the Asia News Network.

Mr Jin's remarks come ahead of the bank's first annual meeting from June 25 to 26 in Beijing. Governors and representatives from the bank's 57 founding members will attend the meeting.

The AIIB president said the bank will soon deliver on the first batch of infrastructure projects in Asia and expand its funding for projects in non-Asian countries soon.

"It is gratifying to see that geographically it covers a broad area," Mr Jin said.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

You cannot talk people into believing, no matter how nice the words you have, just forget about it (convincing people), do your job.

AIIB PRESIDENT JIN LIQUN

Stressing the inclusive nature of the bank, which opened in January and has been recruiting globally, he said the AIIB will soon appoint a Japanese national to serve in a senior position. He also shrugged off scepticism about China's motivation for creating a multilateral financial institution.

"Scepticism must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure," he said in what seemed a reference to a famous quote by British author Jane Austen. The original quote, however, uses "selfishness" instead of "scepticism".

Dismissing suspicion and misconceptions about the AIIB, Mr Jin said the bank intended to use its performance to earn international trust and credibility. "You cannot talk people into believing, no matter how nice the words you have, just forget about it (convincing people), do your job," he said.

He also said China had no intention to challenge the existing international financial order, and that the creation of the AIIB was not a threat to other multilateral development banks.

While the United States and Japan have declined to join the AIIB, Mr Jin said countries could work together, regardless of bank membership.

"The door has been open and will remain open," he said, adding that Japanese companies and the US would be treated equally and with fairness. "We do not reject ideas from anybody, which will be good for AIIB and members," he added.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'AIIB to have almost 100 members by year-end'. Print Edition | Subscribe