China-Led Infrastructure Bank to Welcome U.S. ‘Anytime’

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and representatives of countries ready to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank line up for a group photo at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and representatives of countries ready to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank line up for a group photo at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Photograph: Kyodo via AP Images

China is keeping the door open for the U.S. to join its new development bank “anytime,” the lender’s chief said, after the Obama administration failed to persuade most allies to snub the lender.

The U.S. is “welcome to the kitchen to work with us,’ Jin Liqun, secretary general of the secretariat for establishing the bank, told reporters in Singapore on Saturday. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s founding membership will probably be ‘‘short of 60,” he said.

“China itself has benefited enormously from contributions by the World Bank” and Asian Development Bank, Jin said at a forum in Singapore. “Now it’s time for China to contribute more to this region, and hopefully China’s contributions will spill over to other regions.”

The U.S. suffered a diplomatic setback as allies including Australia, the U.K, and Germany opted to become founding members of the China-led bank. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said this week he doesn’t view the development lender as heralding an end to the global economic order forged by the U.S.

The AIIB will be owned by all members, not solely China, and will have a mandate to promote broad-based socio-economic development, Jin said. As it will focus exclusively on infrastructure funding, while the World Bank and Asian Development Bank address poverty reduction, there is more complementary territory than “head-on competition,” he said.

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