Will Russia join China’s AIIB as an ‘Asian’ member?

The sizes of the equity stakes that members plan to take in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) keeps changing as more countries join and their designations change. A South Korean news agency also reports a diplomatic source as saying that  China will allow Russia to join the AIIB as an “Asian” member with greater voting rights than non-Asian nations.

Yonhap quoted the source as saying  Wednesday that South Korea will likely take a 3%-3.5% stake in the AIIB, down from an earlier 4% to 5%, now that Russia is expected to join the regional development bank as an “Asian” member.

“Russia has been categorized as an Asian member in the AIIB,” said the source who is said to have been involved in this week’s fourth round of preparatory meetings in Beijing to discuss rules and other issues involving the bank.

If true, Russia’s Asian designation would seem to indicate preferential treatment by Beijing which has been moving closer to Moscow in geopolitical terms. It would also give Russia, whose territory straddles Asia, more voting power in the AIIB which is viewed as a competitor to U.S.-led development banks.

Russia is designated as a European member of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

The rules that govern the AIIB are yet to be officially announced by China. Yonhap quotes Chinese media reports as saying that the AIIB’s Asian members could have 75% of the voting rights, while the remaining 25%would go to non-Asian members.

China and AIIB members are slated to hold another round of meetings in Singapore in May before signing the final “Articles of Agreement” governing the AIIB in June.

China has pledged to contribute $50 billion to the bank, which is expected to commence operations by year’s end. Other members, both Asian and non-Asian are expected to contribute another $50 billion, pushing the AIIB’s total funding to $100 billion.



Categories: Asia Unhedged

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