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alltransline 2015-04-02 14:28:18
제 목 Korea to join AIIB
Korea will join the China-led regional development bank as one of its founding members, the Ministry of Finance announced Thursday. The ministry said in a statement the decision to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was in line with the national interest, and that it had notified Beijing of the decision.

The move was highly anticipated as China has become Korea's largest trading partner, replacing the United States. In addition, China is now the top destination for Korean investors; while the number of Chinese tourists coming to Korea has reached a record high. The two countries also signed a free trade agreement last year, and Seoul is hoping to be a leading renminbi hub in the future.

The AIIB's main role will be to provide funds and expertise to Asian economies for social infrastructure projects. Beijing has said it will provide $50 billion to get the bank started ― other member countries' contributions are expected to be at least $100 billion. It is unknown how much Korea will contribute. The United States has kept a watchful eye on moves to create the AIIB.

Washington has complained the China-led institution won't meet standards of governance seen in the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which it helped found. It also said the new bank must use tougher measures to protect the environment and people's welfare.  It pressured Korea and its allies to turn down China's invitation to join the AIIB.

The mood changed after the United Kingdom announced its intention to join the institution earlier this month. France, Germany and Italy followed suit, along with New Zealand.  Korean economists said that joining the AIIB will benefit Korea as local companies, which are strong in construction and engineering, will have better chances of engaging in AIIB-funded infrastructure projects.

The AIIB has been a diplomatic test for Korea which had to find a balance between its old ally of the United States, which publicly disapproved of Korea's membership, and China, its biggest trading partner and a rising global power. Britain's decision made it easier for Korea. Speculation is now rising that the United States will also become a member.

Korea still faces a diplomatic test over the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on the peninsula.
Beijing has publicly said it doesn't want THAAD deployed in Korea, while Washington has been pushing Seoul to host the anti-ballistic missile system   < Quoted from The Korea Times>
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