Date
21 November 2017
Xi Jinping (fourth from right) meets guests at the launch of the AIIB in October. Four European countries have agreed to join the bank. Photo: Reuters
Xi Jinping (fourth from right) meets guests at the launch of the AIIB in October. Four European countries have agreed to join the bank. Photo: Reuters

Europe trio join China-led development bank, defying US

France, Germany and Italy have followed Britain’s lead and agreed to join a China-led international development bank, the Financial Times reported, citing European officials.

It is a slap in the face for the United States, which has been trying to keep its western allies from joining the new US$50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Britain announced last week it would join the AIIB, seen as a possible rival to the Washington-based World Bank.

Australia, a key US ally in the Asia-Pacific region that has come under pressure from Washington to stay out of the new bank, has said it will now rethink its position.

The US has argued that western countries could have more influence over the workings of the new bank if they stayed together on the outside and pushed for higher lending standards.

The AIIB, which was formally launched by President Xi Jinping last year, is one element of a broader push by China to create new financial and economic institutions that will increase its international influence.

When Britain announced its decision to join the AIIB last week, the US administration told the FT it was part of a broader trend of “constant accommodation” by London of China.

British officials were relatively restrained in their criticism of China over its handling of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year.

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CG/FL

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