March 19, 2015 / 4:51 AM / in 3 years

S.Korea to decide on joining China-backed bank by end-March

SEOUL, March 19 (Reuters) - South Korea will decide by the end of this month on whether it will join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said on Thursday.

More than 20 countries including Germany, Britain and India have decided to participate in the bank, while South Korean officials have remained tight-lipped in recent weeks over its possible membership.

The finance minister’s comments were made to reporters on the sidelines of a press event in Seoul.

The United States, one of South Korea’s closest allies, has urged countries to think twice before joining the bank, which Washington sees as a rival to the Western-dominated World Bank. (Reporting by Lee Shin-hyung; Writing by Christine Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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