‘Taiwan, China’ unacceptable condition to join AIIB: Lin
Taiwan will not accept the designation of “Taiwan, China” in order to become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB,
), according to comments made by Foreign Minister David Lin ( ) yesterday at the Legislative Yuan. Lin was invited along with Central Bank of the Republic of China Deputy Governor Yang Chin-long ( ), Deputy Finance Minister Wu Tang-chieh ( ) and Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Chairman Lin Chu-chia ( ) to the Legislative Yuan’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and National Defense to brief legislators and respond to questions on the potential impacts of joining the Beijing-led multilateral body.
Representing the Finance Ministry, Wu remarked that applying to the bank would allow Taiwan the possibility of molding the institution in the beginning (“only by raising our hands now, will we have the right to speak”).
Name Issue Still Unresolved
Lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties voiced concerns over what name Taiwan would use as a member of the AIIB. Responding to a question lodged by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (
) on whether Taiwan would join as “Taiwan, China,” the foreign minister replied: “(this) is unacceptable.” Meanwhile, Kuomintang (KMT) legislators accused the DPP of hypocrisy Lai Shyh-bao ( ), arguing that the DPP did not protest Taiwan’s “Taipei,China” designation in the Asian Development Bank.
March 12 a Turning Point
In his briefing and responses to questions about the government’s research into possible participation in the AIIB, Deputy Finance Minister Wu indicated that the United Kingdom’s decision to join the bank on March 12 was a crucial turning point, as it triggered other European countries such as France, Germany and Italy to follow suit in the coming days. Wu said that the Ministry of Finance had begun exploring options and collecting viewpoints from other government ministries and departments starting mid-January.
Lin acknowledged that initial U.S. concerns over Taiwan’s membership to the AIIB were voiced through the American Institute in Taiwan, but that the U.S. now respects Taiwan’s decision to seek membership. He also expressed optimism that the participation of Western economies would bring international standards that would enhance the AIIB’s operations.
Economic Opportunities Touted
The central bank deputy gover- nor indicated that savings of approximately US$370 billion in the Asia region made the area ripe for infrastructural investment. He said the AIIB’s capital limit would not be able to meet up with the US$800 billion in projected demand for infrastructure in the region annually. Countries with large foreign reserves such as Taiwan could play an important role in providing investment and disperse financial risk.
Inter-ministerial Committee to
Wu said that an inter-ministerial committee made up of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, the central bank, the Financial Supervisory Commission ( ) would be created and directed by the Ministry of Finance to handle matters pertaining to the AIIB. Lin reiterated that the process would be subject to legislative oversight.