Finance Ministry explains AIIB policy formation
The Finance Ministry ( ) released its first formal statement yesterday on Taiwan’s approach to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB, ), in the wake of opposition party claims that President Ma Ying-jeou made a unilateral decision to apply for membership.
Since last November, several government ministries have provided input to form Taiwan’s policy on the China-backed financial institution, according to a statement signed by the Finance Ministry’s National Treasury Administration ( ).
The Executive Yuan convened last November to deliberate on the AIIB, prompted by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ( ) talks over the financial venture at the APEC summit, according to a statement.
On Nov. 6, the Executive Yuan tasked the Finance Ministry with forming the Republic of China’s re- sponse, and the Finance Ministry issued information requests to several government ministries on Dec. 30, the statement continued.
Ministries that have provided input are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the National Development Council, the Public Construction Commission and the Central Bank.
These ministries filed their reports by mid-January of this year, accord- ing to the statement.
After collation and assessment, the Finance Ministry ruled on March 4 that joining the AIIB is in line with Taiwan’s national interest, under the precondition that the terms of membership maintain the dignity of the country.
March 31 Deadline
Late yesterday, Taiwan’s central government submitted its statement of interest in the AIIB, as drafted by the Finance Ministry.
Because there is no direct communication between the cross-Strait finance ministries, MAC faxed the letter to the China’s Taiwan Affairs Council ( ) for forwarding to the AIIB’s secretariat. The letter was filed yesterday in order to meet Beijing’s deadline for founding members, said the Finance Ministry.
So far, Indonesia, New Zealand, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, South Korea, Austria and over 40 other countries have announced their intent to become founding members in China’s nascent financial venture.
Signing for founding members is expected by the end of June and the start of operations by year’s end, according to the Finance Ministry.
The AIIB is set to become a multilateral lending bank that funds infrastructure projects in Asia. Authorized capital is US$100 billion, with roughly US$50 billion as China’s initial contribution.
Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers have charged Ma with making a unilateral decision to promote Taiwan’s membership in the AIIB.
Ma sent former Vice President Vincent Siew ( ) to promote membership at the Boao Forum last week — before the Executive Yuan reached a consensus on the bid, said Tuan Yi-kang ( ), who called for greater transparency in the decisionmaking process.