China rejects Taiwan as founding member of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Taiwan is not able to become a founding member of the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) but is still welcome to become a member in the future, the Chinese government said on Monday.

In a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, China's Taiwan Affairs Office confirmed what it said was a Hong Kong media report about the rejection of Taiwan. The report also said Taiwan could join further down the line, the Taiwan Affairs Office added.

While the Taiwan Affairs Office provided no explanation, it repeated that Taiwan would be welcome to join if it used an appropriate name. "The mainland will consider opinions from all sides to properly address the issue of Taiwan's membership," the statement said. "The related departments will consider Taiwan's membership when making the constitution for the AIIB."

Most countries, including the United States, do not recognise Taiwan due to pressure from China. Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

It is though a member of the Asian Development Bank under the name of Taipei, China.

China views Taiwan as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control. However, since Taiwan's current president Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, enmity has declined considerably and the two sides have signed a number of trade and investment deals.

Taiwan's decision to apply to join sparked a heated debate in democratic Taiwan, where deepening relations with autocratic China have caused growing unease.

The United States has urged countries to think twice about joining the AIIB until it could show sufficient standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards.

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