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Beijing rebuffs Taiwan's infrastructure bank application

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 17:16

[BEIJING] China signalled on Tuesday that Taiwan would not be allowed to join the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is seen as a counterweight to the Washington-based World Bank.

"As for Taiwan joining (the AIIB), we maintain that we should avoid the 'two Chinas' and 'one China, one Taiwan' situation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

Taiwan will present a letter of intent to the AIIB preparatory committee, the presidential office in Taipei said Monday following a national security meeting chaired by Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

But Beijing regularly proclaims the importance of its "One China" policy, seeing the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, and often curtails Taiwan's involvement in international agreements. The two split in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, World Bank or International Monetary Fund.

But it has joined some international organisations under different names. The International Olympic Committee refers to it as "Chinese Taipei", and it is known as the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu at the World Trade Organization.

As the deadline to apply to become one of the US$50 billion bank's founding members approached on Tuesday more than 40 countries around the world had sought to do so, including Britain, Germany, France and Italy, despite scepticism about the AIIB in Washington and Tokyo.

Last week Beijing's vice finance minister Shi Yaobin said it "welcomes all countries" to join the bank, which it has touted as a tool for financing regional development alongside other lenders such as the US-led World Bank and the Japan-led Asian Development Bank.

AFP