Taiwan not among 57 charter members of China's Asian Bank

AP News
Posted: Apr 15, 2015 2:59 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday announced the 57 intended charter members of the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with longtime rival Taiwan left off the list despite expressing a desire to join.

Taiwan's exclusion means it won't participate in drawing up the bank's foundational documents and governance rules, although Beijing says the island is welcome to join later.

Beijing on Monday indicated that issues surrounding Taiwan's accession still need to be hammered out, especially the question of what name the island should be referred to by.

Chinese pressure forces Taiwan to participate in international sporting competitions and other events as "Chinese Taipei," the name suggested by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou when he proposed the island's membership in the bank.

However, Beijing appeared to have rejected that suggestion. Although it has not offered an alternative, China succeeded in 1986 in having Taiwan's name at the Asian Development Bank changed from "Chinese Taipei," to "Taipei, China."

Spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, Ma Xiaoguang, told reporters Wednesday that Beijing would consider "constructive opinions from all sides" concerning Taiwan's representation in the bank.

"Through practical consultations, solutions will be found for Taiwan to join the bank with an appropriate identity," Ma told a regularly scheduled news conference.

Following China's Monday announcement, Taiwan's government said it will seek to join later, but would continue to insist on the name "Chinese Taipei."

The U.S. has expressed concern the new bank will allow looser lending standards for the environment, labor rights and financial transparency, undercutting the World Bank, where the U.S. has the most clout, and the Asian Development Bank, where it is the second-largest shareholder after Japan.

While Japan remains among the holdouts, other U.S. allies such South Korea, Britain, Australia, France, Germany and Italy have signed on as charter members. The list also includes financial powerhouse Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, India, Brazil, Russia and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China proposed the bank last year as a vehicle for financing the construction of roads, railways, ports and other infrastructure. Beijing has pledged to put up most of the initial $50 billion in capital for the bank, which is expected to be set up by year's end.