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China calls on countries interested in AIIB to join by March 31

Updated: 03 19 , 2015 11:27
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BEIJING -- China has called on all countries interested in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to make their decisions before the deadline on March 31.

"March 31 is the deadline for countries to apply to join the bank as founding members, but the door will always be open for interested countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing on Wednesday.

The China-proposed AIIB, with an expected initial subscribed capital of 50 billion U.S. dollars, will be an international financial institution to fund infrastructure projects in Asia. It is expected to be formally established by the end of 2015.

Twenty-one countries including China, India and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding last October in Beijing on creating the bank. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on March 6 that 27 countries had applied to join as founding members.

Germany, Franceand Italy on Tuesday confirmed their respective intentions to join the AIIB, in the wake of Britain's application last week to be a founding member.

The bank has drawn concern from the United Statesthat the new institution should incorporate the high standards of the World Bank while Japanand the Republic of Korea (ROK) have yet to express interest in joining.

"China, Japan and the ROK will surely exchange views on issues of mutual interest during the three-way foreign ministers' meeting on March 21, with the possibility of discussing (AIIB-)related issue," Hong said.

He reiterated that the bank would benefit developing Asian countries that lack infrastructure funds and would adopt the best practices of other multilateral development banks.

"China upholds an open and inclusive attitude in the building and operation of the bank. We're confident that the AIIB will become a sound platform for Asian economic development," he said.