China says would welcome US role in infrastructure bank

Agence France Presse

Posted at Mar 19 2015 07:48 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2015 03:48 PM

BERLIN, Germany - Chinese deputy finance minister Shi Yaobin has told the German press his country would welcome a US role in a Beijing-backed multinational lender, hours after state media described Washington as "petulant and cynical".

"We would welcome the United States into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)," Shi told Handelsblatt daily in an interview set for publication Thursday.

The United States perceives the AIIB, a $50 billion institution, as a threat to the Washington-led World Bank.

"The new bank will mainly play a supporting role for other international institutions," Shi said, according to an extract published Wednesday.

"For the AIIB, we want to learn about how these institutions work, and if possible, we'll be able to copy their good example," the official said.

"That goes for environmental standards, governance rules and some good purchasing practices," he added.

The remarks come after France, Germany and Italy announced their decision on Tuesday to become founding members in the AIIB.

Earlier Wednesday, Chinese state media gloated over the major European powers' decision to join the bank, while describing the US as "petulant and cynical".

Paris, Rome and Berlin's decision came after London last week announced its own ambitions to join, drawing a rare rebuke from Washington.

China touts the institution as a tool for financing regional development alongside other lenders such as the World Bank and the Japan-led, Manila-based Asian Development Bank.