South Korea Finance Chief Hopeful of Easing Tensions With China

The 18-month-old Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has won acclaim for its good work from representatives of all over the world at its Second Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors held through Saturday.

But Moon also pointed out the "development of democracy and political stability in Asian countries is becoming an important factor in world peace and security".

The AIIB, China's first effort to launch a multilateral development organisation, has been careful publicly to put distance between itself and Chinese government policy as it looks to placate concerns it will be a tool of Beijing's foreign policy.

Seoul and Beijing also continue to be in disagreement over the deployment of the US missile defense system THAAD, now operational at a former golf course in central South Korea.

China, South Korea's largest trading partner, has imposed restrictions on South Korean imports and banned the sale of group tour packages to South Korea.

"AIIB already generated achievements in one and a half years of its establishment", Song In-chang, deputy minister for global affairs at South Korea's Ministry of Strategy and Finance, told Xinhua Saturday on the sidelines of the AIIB's annual meeting. The ministry said it couldn't disclose details as to whether they discussed sensitive issues like the missile shield. The Latin American members include the region's major economies.

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"We will not consider proposals if we are concerned about the environmental and reputational impact", AIIB president Jin Liqun, a former vice-president at the ADB, said at the opening ceremony last Friday. It is financed by individual country contributions proportionate to their economic size.

The AIIB senior official added that the institution will be open to all countries willing to join it.

The bank announced on Thursday three new projects, including its first equity investment, which, according to D.J. Pandian, vice president and chief investment officer of AIIB, is another significant milestone and will enhance the bank's potential to source and fund high quality, private sector projects. Korea has a 4.06 percent stake. North Korea is not a member [that we can support].

The AIIB, with a capital base of US$100 billion, is a big economic diplomacy win for Beijing.

Along with the official sessions, a variety of side events were scheduled such as seminars on infrastructure and the one-on-one business meetings. "I hope all participants continue to have interest in the AIIB member states and cooperate with Korea".

"We are committed to the principles of sustainable development in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of our investments", Jin said at the annual meeting.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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