Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday inaugurated the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, saying the Asian power will take more international responsibility with the birth of the new lender.
“This is a historic moment,” Xi said, adding that China wants to improve the investment environment in Asia through the 57-member AIIB that he says embodies a high degree of internationality and norms.
He made the remarks at a ceremony in Beijing to mark the inception of the bank, which symbolizes China’s rise and is seen as a challenge to the U.S.-dominated global financial architecture.
Whether by coincidence or not, the event was held on the date of presidential and legislative elections in the self-ruled democratic island of Taiwan, where the main opposition force, the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, is expected to win.
Xi proposed the AIIB’s creation in October 2013 to secure more funds for the building of infrastructure, such as roads, railways and power stations, in Asia.
China sees the lender’s success as being highly important for its overarching goal of connecting countries along the ancient Silk Road more closely, under the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.
While China is stepping up efforts to solidify and extend its influence, both politically and economically, as far as Africa through the initiative, people in Taiwan are worried about the growing power of Beijing, which sees it as a renegade province to be taken back by force if necessary.