Mumbai to Host AIIB Meeting in 2018

Mumbai to Host AIIB Meeting in 2018

The meeting's venue was chosen before a dispute between South Korea and China over Seoul's decision previous year to host a US anti-missile system.

South Korea's new finance chief said he hopes China and his country can put aside their political rift to forge closer economic ties, and bring about an early end to China's action against Korean companies as part of retaliation for Seoul's deployment of a USA missile-defense system.

This was the decision of the AIIB's board of governors following the successful second meeting hosted by South Korea in the southern resort island of Jeju.

The AIIB chief was answering to a question by The Korea Herald on whether the lender had any plan to provide loans for infrastructure projects in the reclusive regime including South Korean leader Moon Jae-in's proposal of linking the South and North by a railroad.

Kim said he hoped his bilateral meeting with Chinese counterpart Xiao Jie during AIIB and the two countries' dialog channels would soon lead to an easing of non-tariff barriers and restriction on package tours. He added that Asian emerging countries' infrastructure investment demand totals US$1.7 trillion a year for 20 years to come and the AIIB has a very important role to play during the period. Japan, a leading country of the Asian Development Bank, is not an AIIB member either.

"The AIIB annual meeting here is meaningful in that it is the first annual meeting outside China", a finance ministry official said. Argentina joined Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia to become the sixth Latin American member of the one-and-half-year-old multilateral financial institution.

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The Jeju meeting sought to set the course for AIIB, a body established in 2014 at the behest of Beijing and considered an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are dominated by the U.S. and the Asian Development Bank controlled by Japan.

China has a 32.33 percent stake in the bank, followed by India (9.08 percent) and Russian Federation (7.09 percent).

One of the risks facing South Korea's economic performance is rising global trade protectionism.

Along with the official sessions, a variety of side events were scheduled such as seminars on infrastructure and the one-on-one business meetings.

The meeting in Jeju ended with three new members - Tonga, Argentina and Madagascar - joining the AIIB, bringing its number of members to 80.

Kim, 60, who was a civil servant for about 30 years through 2014 before becoming president of Ajou University, was appointed finance minister by President Moon on June 9.

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