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    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott makes a statement at the government offices in Sydney, Australia Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

    Australia Mulls Joining Chinese Investment Bank

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    Asia & Pacific
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    Australia appears poised to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank after months of signaling its reluctance to become a member.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott said last week that joining the AIIB was something the country would support, as long as there would be assurances of transparency and good governance, China’s CCTV reported.

    For months it appeared the Abbott government was prepared to stand beside one of its strongest allies, the United States, when it came to joining the AIIB.

    But it now appears Australia's stance has changed, as opposition has eroded and the number of countries signing up, including many in Europe, continues to increase.

     “So we’re certainly well and truly disposed to joining something which is in fact a genuinely multilateral institution with transparent governance, with clear accountability and with major decisions made by the board,” Abbott said.

    The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is expected to be established by the end of 2015, has raised concerns in Washington that it would compete with established international lenders such as the World Bank.

    China’s finance minister, Lou Jiwei, said the AIIB would complement rather than compete with established international lenders, the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported last week.

    Lou’s comments appeared aimed at assuaging US worries after Germany, France and Italy followed Britain in announcing plans to join the AIIB.

    Lou said other countries would be welcome to join even after a March 31 deadline expired.

    China proposed establishment of the bank in 2013 to finance construction of roads, ports and other infrastructure. It has pledged to put up most of its initial $50bn in capital.

    Twenty-one other governments, including India, New Zealand and Thailand, have said they want to join.

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    China's World Bank: Opportunity or Threat? (57)

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    membership, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Tony Abbott, Australia
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