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China-led AIIB will be lean, clean and green: official

[BEIJING] The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be lean, clean and green, its interim chief said, playing down concerns over transparency and standards governing the institution.

The US$50 billion bank, expected to start operations by the end of the year, is attracting a growing list of countries, from Britain to India to New Zealand.

The AIIB is seen as a potential rival to established lenders the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States and Japan. "Lean is cost effective; clean, this bank will have zero- tolerance on corruption; green means it's going to promote the economy," China's Xinhua news agency quoted Jin Liqun, secretary general of the bank's multilateral interim secretariat, telling a forum in Singapore on Saturday.

The bank would not be run politically, Mr Jin said. "AIIB is a bank, not a political organisation or political alliance. This guaranteed that it would be impossible to operate it in an untransparent way," he said.

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More than 40 countries have applied to join the AIIB, with the United States and Japan being notable absentees.

The United States, worried about China's growing diplomatic clout, suffered a diplomatic reverse after trying to dissuade its allies from joining the Chinese initiative.

Washington has questioned whether the AIIB will have sufficient standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards.