President Xi Jinping Addresses
Official Opening of AIIB
It was with a great deal of pride that China's President Xi Jinping addressed the official opening of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It was in October 2013 in Jakarta, one month after President Xi launched a groundbreaking proposal for a Silk Road Economic Belt, that he proposed the AIIB. While it was not quite clear at the time just how much support the AIIB would garner, the infrastructure needs of the world were so great that not even the attempts by the Obama Administration to discourage even European countries from joining, could dent the groundswell of support, from even outside Asia, and it now encompasses as founding members 57 nations from Asia and around the world.
“The founding and opening of the AIIB also means a great deal to the reform of the global economic governance system,”
Xi told the delegates.
“It is consistent with the evolving trend of the global economic landscape and will help make the global economic governance system more just, equitable and effective.”
“The founding and opening of the AIIB will effectively boost investment to support infrastructure development in Asia,” Xi said. “It will serve to channel more resources, particularly private investment, into infrastructure projects to promote regional connectivity and economic integration. It will bring along a better investment environment and more job opportunities and trigger greater medium- to long-term development potential on the part of developing members in Asia. This, in turn, will give impetus to economic growth in Asia and the wider world.
“The demand for infrastructure is enormous. Institutions for infrastructure investment, old or new, have much to offer each other, and may well work together through joint financing, knowledge sharing and capacity building. They may engage each other in benign competition, learn from and reinforce each other, and move forward in tandem. This is a way to allow multilateral development institutions to contribute more to infrastructure connectivity and sustainable economic development in the region.
“While developing countries make the mainstay of the AIIB membership, the institution also attracts a large number of developed members. Such a unique strength makes it a bridge and a bond to facilitate both South-South cooperation and North-South cooperation,”
The opening of the AIIB also gives the lie to the Western financial media, which in the wake of the stock market turmoil, have been spewing out doomsday scenarios about the Asian economy. President Xi also announced that China would invest an additional $50 million in the capital of the AIIB. Interviewed by Chinese media, the international delegates to the AIIB opening conference, including visiting foreign ministers, expressed great optimism over the opportunities ahead with the launching of this institution. Even the Philippines, which is still locked in a bitter maritime boundary dispute with China, has felt the need to take part in the development policy which the founding of the AIIB portends.