Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Photo: AFP/Imaginechina
Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Photo: AFP/Imaginechina

Growing campaign for US to join AIIB under Trump

President Obama's opposition to the Chinese-led bank being seen as a strategic mistake

November 16, 2016 12:47 PM (UTC+8)

There are growing expectations that the US will join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank following Donald Trump’s election as president.

Various media reports in both countries over the past week have mentioned the possibility while promoting the view that opposition to the formation of the AIIB by the Barack Obama administration was a strategic mistake.

The latest came from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang who was quoted in the China Daily on Tuesday as saying “it is not a bad thing” if the United States, as the world’s largest economy, joins the AIIB. “This is also China’s attitude at the very beginning,” he added.

His comments follow a widely reported interview given by AIIB president Jin Liqun in which he said the United States could rethink its reluctance to becoming a partner following Trump’s election.

“I have heard a certain senior official of the Obama administration speak good of the AIIB and after Donald Trump won, I was told that many in his team have an opinion that Obama was not right not to join the AIIB,” Jin told the People’s Daily.

“So we can’t rule out the new US government endorsing the AIIB or indicating interest to join as member.”

We believe there is enough space in the global economic theater for several bodies to operate

Last week, a top Trump adviser said the Obama administration’s opposition to the AIIB was “a strategic mistake.”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the bank two years ago and it began operations in January, with 57 founding member countries and US$100 billion in committed capital, which it plans to invest in projects across the region.

The next batch of members, including key US ally Canada, will be formally introduced in January 2017. The cutoff for the latest group of new members was September 30.

Japan and the United States are the most prominent countries not represented in the bank.

“At the formation of the AIIB, the US … saw the new body as a threat to its dominance and importance in the world economic order, … but we believe there is enough space in the global economic theater for several bodies to operate,” Jin was quoted as saying.

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