By Yoo Seungki
SEOUL, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Joining China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will correspond to national interests of South Korea as well as European countries, a South Korean expert said Wednesday.
South Korea will benefit from the joining of the 50-billion-U.S. dollar bank as it will help Seoul take the initiative in the potential development of infrastructure in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
"The AIIB will possibly provide a significant support for developing North Korea (DPRK)'s infrastructure during the potential opening and reform process of North Korea," Lee Moon-gi, professor of Chinese commerce and trade at Sejong University, said in an interview with Xinhua.
According to Lee, the AIIB is highly likely to help fund the DPRK's infrastructure development projects. During the process, South Korea would want to join such projects and feel the strong need to receive financial support from the AIIB.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has stressed the need for developing roads, railways, bridges and so on in the DPRK, wishing for South Korean companies to participate in the infrastructure projects. Her wish was reflected in the Dresden Declaration, a three-point proposal made by Park during her visit to Germany in March 2014.
"The AIIB will contribute to North Korea (DPRK)'s opening and reform. Active participation (in the AIIB) will benefit South Korea as well," said Lee.
"Imagine the reunification of the two Koreas. Standards of infrastructure, for example the width of railways, should be the same to prepare for the reunification. It will be the best way for South Korean companies to participate in North Korea (DPRK)'s infrastructure development projects to prevent such mismatch," Lee noted.
Joining the AIIB will benefit European countries as well, Lee said. Germany, France and Italy on Tuesday confirmed intentions to join the international body after Britain's application last week to become a founding member of the institution, which is expected to be formally established by the end of this year.
"The IMF and the World Bank are run by the United States in cooperation with Europe, and the ADB is run by the United States in partnership with Japan, so Europe has no chance to expand presence in Asia. Europe can expand economic cooperation in Asia through the AIIB. This corresponds to national interests of Europe, " said Lee.
Lee urged the United States to change its attitude toward the AIIB, saying that the U.S. opposition is "hypocritical and double- faced."
"China continued to call for an expansion in equities in the ADB and the World Bank because it had a tiny say in the institutions. But, the U.S. never accepted such calls. The U.S. called for China to take responsibility together for burdensome matters in the world order, while seeking to hold in check China that is trying to take the initiative in the international society. It's a double-faced behavior," said Lee.
Twenty-one countries, including China, India and Singapore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Beijing in October last year to build the AIIB. A combined 27 countries had applied to jointly build the bank as founding members.
Lee said the AIIB will not change the U.S.-led global finance governance in the near future, but he noted that it will give a clear signal to the global finance order that the existing order will change. The professor forecast that if the bank is successfully entrenched, it will serve as a supplementary body to the World Bank and the ADB.
"It would be better for China to make efforts to maintain a cooperative, supplementary attitude toward the World Bank and the IMF. By showing efforts to cooperate with neighboring countries, China can alleviate worries toward the AIIB. I think China will move in such direction," said Lee.
PHNOM PENH, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is very attractive to rich countries, particularly in Europe.Full story
ROME, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The birth of an alternative international bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as Italy's decision to join the China-proposed institution, is an irresistible trend amid the changing global balance of power, Italian experts said Tuesday.Full story
BERLIN, March 18 (Xinhua) -- It is a positive progress for France, Italy and Germany to follow the suit of Britain in deciding to join the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Chinese Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said.Full story