BANGKOK Jan 26 Thailand's cabinet approved a
budget of 52.82 billion baht ($1.47 billion) on Tuesday to join
the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) seen
as a rival to the U.S.-led World Bank, a government spokesman
Despite opposition from Washington, U.S. allies including
Australia, Britain, Germany and the Philippines have agreed to
join the AIIB in recognition of China's growing economic clout.
Thailand's junta, known as the National Council for Peace
and Order, approved Thailand becoming a founding member of the
new international development bank in July 2014, two months
after the military seized power following months of unrest.
Since then, Thailand's military generals have sought to
counterbalance the country's ties with Washington and have
launched a charm offensive towards China.
The Thai government will hold around 1.43 percent share of
the bank, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told
Payment will start with five installments, each at 2.112
billion baht ($58.90 million), due by the end of 2019, he said.
The AIIB, launched this month by Chinese President Xi
Jinping, aims to invest in infrastructure and connectivity.
($1 = 35.86 baht)
(Reporting By Pracha Hariraksapitak; Additional reporting by
Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Writing by Pairat Temphairojana; Editing by