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AIIB Not Looking for Trouble, President Says

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AIIB Not Looking for Trouble, President Says


Jin Liqun compares China-led development bank to a new restaurant in the neighborhood

The Wall Street Journal
By Esther Fung
25 March 2016

BOAO, China—The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank shouldn’t be seen as an attempt to upend existing multilateral development lenders, nor should it be a hot spot for conflict between China and the U.S., the AIIB president said Friday.

The Beijing-based infrastructure bank, which was conceived as China’s answer to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, has faced skepticism, particularly from the U.S., over how it is managed and whether it has a political agenda to advance Beijing’s interests.

Using the analogy of a new restaurant opening alongside existing ones, Jin Liqun said it is up to customers, not the other restaurants, to decide its relevance.

Rather than put money in an existing institution, “We would just like to have a new kitchen,” Mr. Jin said during a panel discussion at the Boao Forum for Asia, an annual conference named for the seaside town in southern China where it is held.

The AIIB has 57 members and a waiting list of 30, Mr. Jin said, and will focus on developing infrastructure projects in Asia in sectors including energy, transport, telecommunications, agriculture and sanitation.

Addressing concerns that the AIIB will be drawn into a Chinese central-government effort to offload industrial overcapacity abroad and create jobs for Chinese workers, Mr. Jin said the bank’s procurement process aims to provide a level playing field for all companies to compete for projects. It would lose credibility if it gave deals only to Chinese companies, he added.

That said, “Chinese companies are very, very, very competitive,” said Mr. Jin, formerly chairman of China Investment Corp. and a vice president at the Asian Development Bank.

“The AIIB shouldn’t be a new hot spot of conflict between China and the U.S.,” he said.

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