Sweden to apply to join China-backed AIIB investment bank - local media

STOCKHOLM, March 30 (Reuters) - Sweden will apply to join the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Sweden’s finance minister said on Monday, the latest European nation to join the institution in spite of concerns from the United States.

China has set a March 31 deadline to become a founding member of AIIB, which is seen as a significant setback to U.S. efforts to extend its influence in the Asia Pacific region and to balance China’s growing financial clout and assertiveness.

A Swedish application will now be sent.

“As one of the founders you have a better position to influence, like steering it towards sustainable investments,” Sweden’s Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said, according to local news agency TT.

During the weekend. Russia, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands became the latest countries to say they plan to join the AIIB, adding clout to an institution seen as enhancing China’s regional and global influence. (Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Alistair Scrutton)