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China welcomes Indonesia to join AIIB

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BEIJING, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — China applauded on Wednesday Indonesia’s announcement to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

“China welcomes Indonesia’s formal decision to join the AIIB as a founding member at an early date,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a daily press briefing. 

Hong’s comments came in response to a question regarding Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro’s remarks on Tuesday saying his country may decide to join the AIIB as early as next week.

Calling Indonesia an important economy in Asia, Hong said China has called for joint efforts with countries involved, including Indonesia, to promote early establishment of the AIIB which would serve as a multilateral platform for cooperation.

Twenty-first Asian countries that are willing to join the AIIB as founding members signed an MOU in Beijing on Oct. 24, which specifies the authorized capital of the AIIB is 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars.

As agreed, Beijing will be the host city for the AIIB’s headquarters.

The 21 countries are Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. 

The Abbott government is refusing to join China’s new regional infrastructure investment bank until it changes its governance rules, echoing US concerns but leaving Australia on the outer in the Asia-Pacific.

Labor has urged Tony Abbott to actively engage with China on its proposal for an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is designed to lend money for infrastructure projects in the region.

According to reports, cabinet had been split on the issue of whether to join. The treasurer, Joe Hockey, favoured negotiating from the inside of the organisation while foreign minister Julie Bishop argued against joining on strategic grounds – reflecting the US position.

Abbott has decided not to accept China’s current terms for membership and his cabinet’s national security committee also recommended against joining for strategic reasons.

“We would like to join, but it’s got to be a multilateral institution with the kind of transparency and the kind of governance arrangements that, for argument’s sake, the World Bank has,” Abbott said.

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