Beijing (AsiaNews) - Australia and Denmark have announced plans to join the Asian "Super Bank" led by China, leaving the United States and Japan increasingly isolated in what appears to be a complete redefinition of international finance. The two countries, traditionally Washington allies, will join as founding members on 12 and 13 April. Their request is being studied by more than 35 states that have already joined the initiative.
Launched by Beijing in May of 2014, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) aims to become the financial hub par excellence for the continent’s governments. In this way, say analysts, they want to extricate themselves from the dominance of the World Bank, traditionally in the hands of the US; the Asian Development Bank, based in Manila but controlled by Japan; the International Monetary Fund controlled by Europe.
In concrete terms, the Chinese government offers loans to Asian governments at "zero interest" without imposing what are the standard fees for international negotiations: no internal pressure, no request for political reform or long-term guarantees. Beijing is also lobbying for support in the international arena – such as the United Nations, ASEAN or the Criminal Court in The Hague - with regard to its own domestic issues: Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan. In addition, it wants a favorable vote in all disputes concerning disputed waters and territories, such as those of the China Sea (Eastern and Southern) and on the border with India.
Beijing has allocated a first tranche of funds, amounting to 50 billion USD, and has secured itself as the largest stakeholder: the "Super Bank"’s initial capital has in fact been set at 100 billion USD. In this way also has the ability to exercise veto power that, despite some opposition, is now accepted by other Member States. The last to become members were South Korea and Vietnam. They join Germany, France, Britain and Italy. The Netherlands - China's third largest trading partner - will announce its decision shortly. The deadline for submitting applications is 31 March 2015.
Hong Kong and Russia are the only continental states not to have joined thus far. The former British colony, led by the pro-Chinese Leung Chun-ying, is looking for a way to participate in the project that falls within the "one country, two systems" policy. The same Leung said: "The policy of the ports open, an efficient customs system and a real protection of intellectual property [all legacies of England ed] make Hong Kong an excellent candidate”.
As for Russia, the problems seem to be more economic than political. According to several experts, Putin has already invested heavily in the Eurasian Economic Union- with the states of the former Soviet Union - which has also proposed the creation of an independent currency. Also there are the serious financial problems derived from international sanctions - posed after the War in the Crimea - and the collapse of oil prices.