BEIJING, March 23 The China-backed Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Thursday it has
approved 13 new applicants to join the bank, including Canada, a
major ally of the United States, bringing its total membership
This is the first time AIIB has welcomed new members to the
bank since it inception, the multilateral financial institution
said in a statement on its website.
The approved applicants include eight non-Asian countries -
Canada, Belgium, Ethiopia, Hungary, Ireland, Peru, Republic of
Sudan and Venezuela - and five regional members - Hong Kong,
Afghanistan, Armenia, Fiji and Timor Leste.
The multilateral institution, seen as a rival to the
Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank, was
initially opposed by the United States but attracted many U.S.
allies including Britain, Germany, Australia and South Korea as
founding members. Canada applied to join the AIIB last year.
"I am very proud that AIIB now has members from almost every
continent," said AIIB President Jin Liqun. "We anticipate
further applications being considered by our Board of Governors
later this year."
(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing
by Jacqueline Wong)