Chief of Chinese-led Asian bank says door open for US, Japan

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The inaugural president of a Chinese-led Asian regional bank said Wednesday the door remains open to the United States and Japan becoming members of the institution that Washington objected to.

Jin Liqun, president-designate of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said that the bank will work closely with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other institutions. He said it will explore opportunities for joint financing of infrastructure with those institutions.

"We had rounds of discussions with Japanese authorities and U.S. authorities about many kinds of cooperation, which we could have," he said at a press briefing during his first visit to an AIIB member country. "So the door keeps open for Japan and the United States to be a member of the AIIB."

The U.S. had complained that the AIIB would undercut existing institutions and might allow looser lending standards. But the bank won wide support from U.S. allies. Its 57 founding members include Britain, France, Australia and South Korea.

The bank is poised to start operation around the end of this year, he said, when all 57 members are expected to complete signing of its articles of agreement. Jin said 51 countries have signed so far.

The bank plans to finance investments in railways, cargo ports and other trade-related infrastructure. Beijing is the biggest contributor to its planned capital of $100 billion.

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