The head of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said the United States could rethink its reluctance to become a partner in the China-backed multilateral lender following Donald Trump’s election as president, the People’s Daily reported on Monday.
“I have heard a certain senior official of the President Barack Obama speak good of the AIIB and after Donald Trump won, I was told that many in his team have an opinion that Obama was not right not to join the AIIB,” AIIB president Jin Liqun said in an interview with the official newspaper.
“So we can’t rule out the new government in (the) U.S. endorsing the AIIB or indicating interest to join as member.”
A top adviser of U.S. President-elect Trump on Thursday said the Obama administration’s opposition to the AIIB was “a strategic mistake,” suggesting a possible policy shift when Trump takes office in January.
AIIB president Jin said the bank is willing to welcome new members, but cautioned that after the next batch of members are admitted, there would be few shares left for new joiners, according to the People’s Daily report.
Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the bank two years ago and it began operations in January, with 57 founding member countries and $100 billion in committed capital, which it plans to invest in projects across the region.
The next batch of members, including key U.S. ally Canada, will be formally introduced in January 2017. The cutoff for the latest group of new members was Sept. 30.
Japan and the United States are the most prominent countries not represented in the bank.
“At the formation of the AIIB, the U.S….saw the new body as a threat to its dominance and importance in the world economic order, …(but) we believe there is enough space in the global economic theater for several bodies to operate,” the report quoted Jin as saying.