AIIB President Jin: Door will remain open for US to join

ANN@The China Post

One year after opening with 57 charter members, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would still welcome the US to join its ranks, the bank’s president Jin Liqun has said.

“The door will remain open,” Jin said in a television interview, when asked whether he expected the US to reconsider becoming a member.

He said: “We maintain a consistent policy. The AIIB is a multilateral development institution.”

Approximately 30 economies are waiting to join, Jin said at the bank’s headquarters in Beijing. The lender, with $100 billion of pledged capital-part of China’s push to expand the nation’s economic benefits to others, backed nine projects in seven countries last year.

Before it opened in January 2016, US President Barack Obama rejected joining, only to see several of its closest allies sign up. Now Beijing is preparing for the incoming US administration of Donald Trump, who’s already straining ties before taking office on Jan 20.

Jin, a former deputy finance minister who also has worked at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on China’s behalf, is still optimistic despite recent tensions.

He said: “We can work very well together.”

He added that senior officials in the US government, including both Democrats and Republicans, have shared with him their praise for the new institution.

He said: “I’m encouraged by the very positive comments on the AIIB.”

The AIIB got a boost last year when the UK, Germany, France and Italy became members. Other US allies such as Australia, South Korea and Canada also joined, leaving the US and Japan as the only nations to hold off joining.