AIIB chief vows to help tackle infrastructure gap, climate change

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-16 16:31:31|Editor: MJ
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JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Chief of the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) vowed Friday to help tackle major challenges of infrastructure gap and climate change by investing in infrastructure and other productive sectors.

AIIB President Jin Liqun made the remarks in his opening address for the second annual meeting of the AIIB's board of governors, which kicked off in South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju. The meeting will last until Saturday.

The first annual meeting was held in Beijing last year.

Officially launched in January 2016, the Beijing-based AIIB is a multilateral development bank initiated by China and supported by a wide range of countries and regions, which will provide financing for infrastructure improvement in Asia.

"Asia is at a critical juncture. Its role on the world stage is increasing, thanks in large part to its growing economy, demographic changes, technological innovations, and more importantly, enhancements in corporate and state governance," said Jin.

Despite these impressive achievements, Jin said, Asia now faced new and complex challenges such as a massive infrastructure gap, the impact of climate change, rapid urbanization and environment degradation.

The AIIB chief said that because the challenges cannot be addressed by any single institution single-handedly, the AIIB will help tackle them by investing in infrastructure and other productive sectors to support economic and social development.

He said the AIIB was truly global as it had members from every continent, noting that broad support from both regional and non-regional membership manifested a firm confidence in the AIIB.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who took office on May 10, attended the meeting, making his congratulatory address for the country's first hosting of a major international event under the new government.

President Moon expressed his high anticipation toward the AIIB, which connects people and regions and plays a greater role in opening a better future beyond the present, saying the sustainable infrastructure was still important to eradicate poverty and expand economic development especially for developing countries in Asia.

This year's annual meeting brought together about 2,000 participants, including delegations of both 57 founding members and 20 new members, international organizations and academia as well as businessmen, financiers and journalists.

The attendees included over 20 finance ministers of the 77 approved AIIB members such as Australia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia and Laos, according to South Korea's finance ministry.

During the business session, the AIIB board of governors approved Argentina, the Republic of Madagascar and the Kingdom of Tonga as new members, raising the total approved membership to 80.

Jin said the bank will help its members meet their determined commitments under the Paris Agreement, a global climate change deal as it had an important role to play as a facilitator and supporter of the Paris Agreement.

The AIIB, Jin said, placed a great emphasis on helping its members' transition towards a low-carbon future, leading to no coal projects in the bank's pipeline.