In a surprise move, London announced Thursday that it will seek to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), sparking an angry response from the U.S.
The (AIIB) was created by China last fall and officially rolled out with a signing ceremony in October 2014. At the original signing ceremony, 21 countries (including China) signed on to the $100 billion bank, designed to provide funding for infrastructure projects throughout the region. However, with the exception of India, most of China’s more influential neighbors abstained, including Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. At the time, reports indicated that the U.S. government had heavily pressured these countries not to sign on.
However, AIIB has grown since its official founding. Indonesia, under new President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, moved to join the bank in late November 2014. New Zealand signed up in January 2015, as did Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan. But London’s decision to join is truly groundbreaking, as the U.K. becomes the first European country – and the first major U.S. ally – to sign on the initiative.READ MORE