April 1, 2015 / 2:15 PM / 5 years ago

Hungary to join China-backed AIIB investment bank - PM Orban

ASTANA, April 1 (Reuters) - Hungary has decided to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Wednesday.

More than 40 countries, including Australia, South Korea, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, have said they would sign up to the AIIB, with Japan and the United States the two notable absentees.

“I would like to announce here that we will join the Asian international development bank,” Orban, referring to the AIIB, told a news briefing during a visit to Kazakhstan.

“We will follow the example of Kazakhstan,” he added, giving no further details.

China set a March 31 deadline to become a founding member of the AIIB, an institution that could enhance Beijing’s regional and global influence.

Washington initially tried to dissuade its allies from joining the AIIB, seeing it as a challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank over which the U.S. exerts considerable influence, but changed tack after many signed up for it. (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Additional reporting by Krisztina Than in Budapest; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Alison Williams)

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