ADB head will be "very happy" to work with China's Asia infrastructure bank

ASTANA Fri May 2, 2014 8:14am EDT

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ASTANA May 2 (Reuters) - The president of the Asian Development Bank said on Friday he would be "very happy" to cooperate with a multilateral bank that China is setting up to develop infrastructure projects in Asia.

China's finance ministry said in March that the planned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would have capital of $50 billion, paid for by its members.

It would have a mandate to fund infrastructure projects in the region, complementing the work of entities like the ADB.

"We (ADB) have about $13 billion of new lending, new approval each year, but we estimate the infrastructure needs of Asia and Pacific are $8 trillion for 10 years - $800 billion each year," ADB President Takehiko Nakao told a news conference during the bank's 47 annual meeting in the Kazakh capital.

He said the ADB "needs to make efforts ... to maintain our capacity of lending or even increase it," adding: "The ideas of the Asia infrastructure bank stimulate us to think more innovatively ... Once this bank is established, we are very happy to cooperate with them and I already mentioned to the Chinese authorities I'll do this."

China, which is involved in an increasingly ugly territorial spat with some Southeast Asian countries over parts of the South China Sea, has tried to reassure Southeast Asia that its economic rise will benefit the whole region.

The Manila-based ADB is owned by 67 members, including 48 from the region, and focuses on reducing poverty in the Asia- Pacific region which remains home to approximately two-thirds of the world's poor. (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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