Taiwan AIIB entry is ‘highly probable,’ says Chinese official
Mainland China’s Deputy Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao ( ) said Friday that Taiwan’s chances of entering the Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank (AIIB, ) had a high probability. Zhu made the comment while attending a meeting of the Atlantic Council ( ), a Washington-based think tank. When questioned by a reporter from the Central News Agency regarding the suitability of Taiwan’s participation under the designation “Chinese Taipei,” Zhu voiced his country’s support for the island’s bid for membership as “an economic entity.” He added that previous international practice for Taiwan’s participation under this formula included the World Trade Organization (as “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu”) and APEC (under “Chinese Taipei”).
Zhu said that extensive negotiations were under way with Taiwan regarding the designation issue. Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) responded to Zhu’s comments in Washington by confirming that negotiations over an appropriate name for its AIIB participation were in fact taking place. It reiterated the stance of “dignity and equality” as required principles for membership.
Scholars Advocate Awareness
Meanwhile, scholars pushed for greater public awareness of the international context behind China’s AIIB motivations. The R.O.C. International Studies Association (
) held a discussion forum yesterday at National Taiwan University on the possible effects of the AIIB on Taiwan. The event was led by local scholars including the association’s president and former Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Council Philip Yang ( ) and Mignonne Chan ( ), founder of Out-of-the-Box Consultancy ( ) and former senior advisor to the president at the National Security Council.
While answering questions from the public and media present, the scholars agreed that the formation of the AIIB represented a watershed moment in recent history since the Cold War. Yang said that the investment bank belongs to Asia and the world, and that Taiwan needs to face new historical circumstances. He argued that the government needs to take a more proactive stance, including departmental and ministerial meetings and more consultations with other countries in APEC.
Chan argued that bank participation would bring more opportunities to the island’s small and medium-sized enterprises, and that it presented a better alternative to “building a cart behind closed doors.” She also questioned the issue of the AIIB’s operational transparency, a subject broached by the U.S. and its ally Japan, both of which have not applied to join the bank as “a non-issue.”
The scholars also emphasized the need for public awareness on the larger international context at play in China’s decision to form the AIIB. Tsai Tung-chieh, a professor at National Chung Hsin University urged the public to utilize the wide ranging number of Internet-based sources to educate themselves on the issue, rather than wait for government explanations. Li Da-jung, a professor at Tamkang University added that Taiwan cannot sustain itself without taking international trends into consideration.
”The world will not cease to move forward because of Taiwan,” Li said.