Five foreigners in top AIIB positions

BEIJING • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has appointed five non-Chinese top officials, the China-backed lender said yesterday, following vows that it would be an international institution and not be used to boost Beijing's influence.

The AIIB, first proposed by President Xi Jinping less than two years ago, has become one of China's biggest foreign policy successes.

Despite being opposed by Washington, almost all major US allies - Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea - have joined.

The United States, which initially cautioned nations against joining the AIIB, had expressed concern over how much say China would wield within the bank, to the benefit of its state-run companies.

The five posts are a vice-president of policy and strategy, a corporate secretary and chief officers for risk, investment and administration, the bank said in a statement.

VARIED EXPERIENCE

This is an exceptionally strong and committed group who bring wide and varied experience and a wealth of expertise that will serve the bank well.

AIIB PRESIDENT JIN LIQUN, on the appointment of non-Chinese to top posts.

"This is an exceptionally strong and committed group who bring wide and varied experience and a wealth of expertise that will serve the bank well," AIIB president Jin Liqun said.

A former chief secretary of Britain's Treasury, Mr Danny Alexander, is corporate secretary, and Germany's Joachim von Amsberg, a World Bank officer, is a vice-president of policy and strategy.

"I will relish the challenge of being part of this new institution as it establishes itself as a crucial part of the multilateral landscape, supporting growth, tackling climate change and helping drive up living standards in Asia," Mr Alexander said in a separate statement.

Britain has also secured one of the 12 seats on the AIIB's board of directors and will lead a constituency of members from Europe, the statement said.

The other posts are held by former senior officials and bankers from India, Indonesia and South Korea.

A successful AIIB that sets itself apart from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund would be a diplomatic triumph for China, which opposes a global financial order which it says is dominated by the US and does not adequately represent developing nations.

Mr Jin has said that as the bank ramps up operations this year, it is expected to lend up to US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) in the first year and then US$10 billion to US$15 billion a year for the next five or six years.

He has also said the bank will have an internal department focused on compliance and integrity that reports directly to the board and that it will not be "the instrument of the Chinese government".

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2016, with the headline 'Five foreigners in top AIIB positions'. Print Edition | Subscribe