BEIJING, (REUTERS): Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a new international development bank seen as a rival to the US-led World Bank at a lavish ceremony on Saturday, as Beijing seeks to change the unwritten rules of global development finance.
Despite opposition from Washington, US allies including Australia, Britain, German, Italy, the Philippines and South Korea have agreed to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in recognition of China’s growing economic clout.
“Asia’s financing needs for basic infrastructure are absolutely enormous,” Xi said in a speech at the launch, adding the bank would aim to invest in projects that were “high-quality, low-cost”.
The AIIB is expected to lend $10 billion-$15 billion a year for the first five or six years and will start operations in the second quarter of 2016.
Even so, no specific infrastructure projects would be announced “for the time being”, AIIB President Jin Liqun told Reuters on the sidelines of the launch.
:: Representatives of the founding nations of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) walk around a sculpture after it was unveiled during the opening ceremony of the AIIB in Beijing, China, January 16, 2016. (Photo:REUTERS-Mark Schiefelbein)
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