Taiwan, Norway seek to join China-backed AIIB, Japan still cautious

Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:16am EDT
 
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TOKYO/TAIPEI (Reuters) - Japan remains cautious about signing up to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), indicating that Tokyo will miss the March 31 deadline for application, but both Taiwan and Norway said they would seek to join the institution.

Finance Minister Taro Aso reiterated Japan's concerns about governance at the AIIB, its debt sustainability and environmental and social safeguards.

"Unless these conditions are secured, Japan has no choice but to be very cautious about joining," Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Taiwan sought to join the proposed development bank despite historical animosity and a lack of formal diplomatic relations between the island and China.

In a statement released late on Monday, Taiwan presidential office spokesman Charles Chen said joining the AIIB will help Taiwan in its efforts at regional economic integration and raise the possibility of joining other multinational bodies.

It was not immediately known whether Beijing would accept Taiwan's application to join the AIIB.

Asked about Taiwan's application, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "Our principle has not changed, and that is that it will be an open, inclusive and multilateral organization which we welcome all sides to join.

"But for Taiwan's application to join, it should abide by the relevant principles, which is to avoid the problem appearing of 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan'."

China views Taiwan as a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control. However, since Taiwan's current president Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, enmity has declined considerably and the two sides have signed a number of trade and investment deals.   Continued...

 
China's President Xi Jinping (front C) poses for photos with guests at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank launch ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Takaki Yajima/Pool