November 20, 2014 / 6:52 AM / 3 years ago

Indonesia commits to China-backed bank, but wants something in return

JAKARTA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - President Joko Widodo is committed to Indonesia joining a China-backed Asian infrastructure bank, but wants a few things from Beijing first, a senior adviser told Reuters.

The $50-billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), launched last month in Shanghai, is seen by the United States as a challenge to the Western-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

"(Widodo) has given his personal commitment that Indonesia will join the bank. But he has made two specific requests to the government of China," Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto said in an interview late on Wednesday. He declined to reveal the requests.

The Jakarta Post reported this week that Widodo has requested the AIIB's headquarters be located in Jakarta and that Indonesia play a major role in the bank.

Widjajanto said he expected an answer from Beijing on the Widodo's request by mid-December.

Indonesia was not among the 21 countries attending the launch of the AIIB because Widodo had just come into office and had yet to decide on whether to join.

AIIB, in which China will hold a majority stake, aims to give project loans to developing nations such as Indonesia.

The archipelago's limited infrastructure, with gaps in its network of roads, rails and ports, is one of the main impediments to economic growth.

Washington has welcomed the bank with some reservations, saying it needed to meet international standards of governance and transparency. China has said the new bank would use the best practices of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. (Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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