The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will earn international trust and credibility through its performance, the bank’s President Jin Liqun said on May 31.
Jin dispelled mistrust and skepticism about China’s motivation for creating the multilateral financial institution.
He said the bank will see its first group of infrastructure projects by the end of June and will raise the ceiling on its membership numbers from 57 to nearly 100 countries and regions this year.
While the United States and Japan have declined to join the AIIB, Jin said countries can work together regardless of whether they are members of the bank, which will soon appoint a Japanese national to serve in a senior position.
“The door has been open and will remain open,” he said, adding that Japan and the US will be treated equally and fairly by the AIIB.
In a rare meeting, Jin sat down with a group of senior editors from major Asian news outlets to discuss the mission and operation of the China-led bank.
“The first batch of projects will speak volumes for the AIIB,” Jins aid, adding that the bank will unveil the second and third group of projects by the end of the year.
Jin’s remarks came ahead of the bank’s first annual meeting on June 25 and 26 in Beijing. Governors and representatives from its 57 founding members will attend.
In his discussions with the editors from the Asia News Network, Jin used a quote from English author Jane Austen to hit back at skepticism about China’s motivation for creating the bank.
“Skepticism must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure,” Jin said, replacing “selfishness” in the original quote, with “skepticism”.
He shrugged off suspicion and misconceptions about the bank, saying it has no intention to challenge the international financial order or to pose a threat to other multilateral development banks.
The bank is working seamlessly with international institutions, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, to cofinance infrastructure projects, he said.
Jin said priority will be given initially to Asian member countries when it comes to funding infrastructure projects. But the bank will seek to expand its investment scope to non-Asian countries with strong economic ties to the continent and will look beyond the geographic boundaries of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
In addition to funding infrastructure projects, the bank will finance sectors including education, healthcare and urban planning and management, Jin said.
He also said the bank is not interested in taking a venture capital role by investing in new technology－underscoring the rational and cautious approach of the bank’s investment philosophy.
Jin said the projects being eyed by the bank must be financially sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable.
John Nery, editor-in-chief of Inquirer.net, a Philippine media outlet, said Jin gave a clear presentation of the AIIB and addressed some of the most common misconceptions about the bank.
“I found him to be a very articulate and learned man. I think the AIIB is in very good hands,” he said, adding that he looked forward to the announcement of the bank’s first projects later this month.