China says 57 countries have signed on as charter members of the new China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They include some of the United States’ closest allies, which added their names despite pressure from the White House not to join.
The Obama administration is concerned the new bank will compete with Western-led institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but leaders of those institutions don’t seem to be worried.
The AIIB, as it’s called, will be a chance for China to extend its influence by financing big infrastructure and development projects throughout Asia. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim told reporters Thursday that he welcomed the new bank. He said there is plenty of need for infrastructure spending.
“Our full expectation is that we’ll continue to work with them very closely and that there are many projects that I can foresee either cofinancing or working together on,” he said at the semi-annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington.