BEIJING, June 30 China would welcome the
participation of the United States, Japan and European countries
to help set up a new multilateral bank to fund infrastructure
projects in Asia, the country's finance minister was quoted as
saying on Monday.
Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said China would likely have a 50
percent stake in the the planned Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank bank, and even if it does not it would be the largest
The bank aims to have a capital of $50 billion, paid for by
its members, and Lou said a memorandum of understanding is
expected to be signed in the autumn.
China's President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang first
announced plans for the bank during visits to southeast Asian
countries in October.
Lou said that China had held numerous consultations with
unnamed Asian countries about the new bank.
"At the same time, China has been in contact with Japan, the
United States and relevant European countries, and welcomes them
to participate in the setting up of the Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank," the ministry quoted Lou as saying on Sunday.
He did not give details of those talks.
Lou said he expected the bank would cooperate with the World
Bank and Asian Development Bank.
China is involved in an increasingly ugly territorial spats
with some Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and the
Philippines, over parts of the South China Sea, worrying many
capitals in the region about Beijing's intentions.
China is also involved in a territorial dispute with Japan
and constantly criticises Tokyo for what it sees as Japan's
failure to properly atone for its wartime past. Ties with the
United States are also strained over everything from trade to
However, China has also tried reassuring Southeast Asia that
its rise will only bring economic benefits to the region. China
and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) already
have a free trade agreement, for example.
Lou said the new bank should neither be politicised nor
"become a game between countries".
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)