BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese-led bank intended to finance railways and other cargo links throughout Asia opened for business at a ceremony led by President Xi Jinping.
Representatives of 57 member countries of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank attended the ceremony Saturday, at which China pledged $50 million to a special fund to prepare less developed countries for infrastructure projects.
The United States and Japan are not members of the AIIB, which some see as a potential rival to the Western-led World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Washington has said it welcomes the additional financing for development but had expressed concern looser lending standards might undercut efforts by existing institutions to promote environmental and other safeguards. Chinese officials have said the bank will complement existing institutions and promised to adhere to international lending standards.
The AIIB is intended to finance railways, cargo ports and other trade links. Its launch comes as Beijing is trying to extend its trade links with its Asian neighbors.
Beijing has pledged to put up most of the bank's initial $50 billion in capital and says that total will rise to $100 billion.
A Chinese official, Jin Liqun, has been named the bank's first president.
This story has been corrected to show that United States expressed concern about possible looser lending standards than World Bank, IMF.