2015-4-3 09:54



China has achieved impressive success in changing minds around the world and recruiting allies over a proposed international infrastructure investment bank.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a new multilateral development bank first proposed by President Xi Jinping in October 2013. At the time, Xi explained that "to support the process of interconnection and integration of the economic development in the region, China has proposed to build the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and provide financial support to infrastructure development in developing countries in the region."
亚洲基础设施投资银行(以下简称亚投行)是一个新型的多边开发银行。它首先由中国国家主席习近平于2013年10月提出。当时,习近平表示“为促进 本地区互联互通建设和经济一体化进程,中方倡议筹建亚洲基础设施投资银行,愿向(包括东盟国家在内的)本地区发展中国家基础设施建设提供资金支持。“

China will provide the bulk of the capital, estimated at $50 billion (310 billion yuan), and other founding members include India, the second largest shareholder, as well as two Gulf Arab states, Kuwait and Qatar. A number of non-regional countries were invited to be founding members.

The US rejected the offer and then lobbied its allies, including Australia, South Korea, the UK and other European states, not to join.

But much to the US' chagrin, in recent weeks, developed nations including the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland, have agreed to participate. Australia and Denmark have filed their applications. South Korea also announced its decision to apply before the deadline and expects to be a founding member of the bank, Reuters reported.

Facing defiance from its allies, the US has since somewhat softened its stance. The Obama administration is proposing that the AIIB work in a partnership with US-backed development institutions, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, The Wall Street Journal reported on March 23.

Stiff competition

Why was the US so upset about the AIIB initially?

According to the Financial Times, the US and other AIIB critics have questioned whether the new bank will have high standards of governance and environmental and social safeguards. They say the bank will play fast and loose with conditionality and other restrictions on the behavior of borrowers, allowing corruption to flourish.

More significant, however, are strategic considerations, says the Financial Times. The US and China are increasingly engaged in a competition for regional influence, while the bank is seen as contributing to the spread of China's "soft power" in the region, possibly at the expense of the US.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei stressed that the AIIB, rather than being a competitor, will be compatible with established international lenders.
接受新华社采访时,中国财务部部长楼继伟强调:“亚投行 与现有多边(开发)银行是互补而非竞争关系。“

He described the bank's founding as a "constructive move" that will complement the current international economic order and enable China to shoulder more global responsibility.

Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, says the UK’s decision to join the new bank is sensible. The US criticized the UK for its “constant accommodation“ of the rising superpower, Wolf says, “but the alternative to accommodation is conflict. China’s economic rise is beneficial and inevitable. What is needed is intelligent accommodation.“

"Where China offers proposals that make sense for itself and for the world, engagement is more sensible than carping from the sidelines. An erstwhile US policy maker once asked China to be a 'responsible stakeholder'. With the creation of the AIIB, it is doing just that," Wolf writes in the Financial Times.

(文章文本来源 21英语)

重点解析 Key Phrases/Words

1. multilateral adj. 多方面的,多边的,多国的

2. chagrin n.(由失败等引起的)懊恼,懊丧,悔恨

3. defiance n. 蔑视,挑战,反抗

4. conditionality n. 受限制性,制约性