South Korea Seeks to Join Asian Infrastructure Bank

South Korea formally applied to China to join its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

South Korea “needs to play the active role it deserves in the international community that’s comparable to its economic status, and AIIB would be an important gateway to expand our financial and diplomatic arena,” the Sejong, South Korea-based ministry said Thursday. The country will officially become a founding member of the AIIB once other members agree, and when the national assembly approves, according to the e-mailed statement.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy joins key U.S. allies from the U.K. to Germany and France in supporting China’s bid to create a new institution funding infrastructure projects in Asia. Japan is yet to make a decision on membership after the U.S. expressed concerns about the fund’s governance structure.

Turkey also indicated its intention to join the AIIB Thursday, a move welcomed by China. Taiwan may follow suit, according to a Kyodo report. China’s Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said founding membership can be completed as early as April 15.

(In second paragraph, corrects location of South Korean finance ministry.)
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