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Taiwan AIIB member bid must go through PRC ministry: China

by April 9, 2016 General

By Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post
April 10, 2016, 12:04 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The president of the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said late Friday that Taiwan’s membership bid must go through the People’s Republic of China’s finance ministry.

The statement by AIIB leader Jin Liqun was the clearest pronouncement of China’s position on Taiwan’s membership in the multilateral investment bank. Jin stated that Article 3, Paragraph 3 of the bank’s “Articles of Agreement” prevented Taiwan from applying since it “is not sovereign or not responsible for the conduct of its international relations.” He said that like Hong Kong, a future Taiwanese bid to join the bank would have to be submitted to China’s finance ministry.

Jin said that the Articles of Agreement were not only created by China alone, but by the bank’s membership constituents as a whole.

The decision will likely be rejected by Taiwan’s government, which said that submitting an application under the designation “Chinese Taipei” represented the “bottom line” of its membership bid for the bank. Government officials have stated that Taiwan would not accept membership into the body at the cost of national dignity.

Taiwan had previously submitted its application to become a founding member of the bank in 2015, but the bid was eventually rejected by Beijing. Taiwan’s government has also stated on multiple occasions that AIIB membership is not a “domestic issue” and that the “sovereignty clause” did not apply to it. Taiwan previously planned to submit an application as an “ordinary member” in early 2016.

Last October, Taiwan’s Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) stated that the R.O.C. satisfied the requirements for bank membership, quoting Article 3, Paragraph 3 which states that countries who are already members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or the Asian Development Bank (ADB) may be admitted as members though a majority vote of the bank’s board of governors.

Under the designation of R.O.C., Taiwan was a founding member of the ADB in 1966.

The AIIB was first proposed by Beijing in 2013 and was launched officially in October 2014. The bank’s authorized capital stock is US$100 billion, which is smaller than the ADB and the World Bank.

Jin stated that a second major round of meetings later this month would discuss the membership of Hong Kong and Singapore, and would likely see bank membership increasing from 57 to 100 countries and regions. The United States and Japan are major economies that have chosen not to join the bank.