As deadline nears, 42 parties apply to AIIB

World Today

money exchange signPeople pass by a sign for a money exchange in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 27, 2015. South Korea announced Thursday it will join the AIIB. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Tuesday is the deadline for countries to apply to join the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member. So far, more than forty countries have filed applications to the regional bank.

Denmark filed its application on Saturday while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed Sunday that Australia has decided to apply to join the bank.

“I am glad that the Australian government has made the decision. Personally I am a firm supporter for Australia in joining the AIIB,” former Australian PM Kevin Michael Rudd said. “I believe the AIIB will help to support financing infrastructure development in Asia.”

China’s Ministry of Finance said that by Sunday, 42 countries — including Denmark and Australia — had filed applications to join the AIIB. A number of American allies, including Germany, France, the U.K. and Italy, have already announced plans to begin putting money toward the AIIB. The U.S. has decided not to join as Washington worries that the AIIB fund would weaken the status of such global financial institutions as the World Bank and the IMF.

Japan has also opted to stay out, at least for now, with officials believing it can sign up later if its conditions are met.

“It’s not a matter of setting a deadline. Our stance remains unchanged that we must cautiously watch how (China) guarantees fair governance at the AIIB,” a government source told Reuters.

The Asian Development Bank estimates that there is an $8 trillion deficit in Asia’s infrastructure fields, including transportation, energy, and telecommunications.

Reporting by Xinhua and Reuters