Is the AIIB a China‐controlled Bank? China’s Evolving Multilateralism in Three Dimensions (3D)

Thomas Timlen via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a China‐controlled bank? This basic question highlights the issue of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) international credibility, especially as a multilateral institution. AIIB president Jin Liqun recognized the ‘multilateral challenge’ for China from the outset of the planning to create the new Bank, and he understood that the new Bank would only be a real success for China if the AIIB is truly a multilateral development bank – inside Beijing circles, he added, ‘and only if the new Bank does better than the long‐established counterpart MDBs’. These sentiments were alluded to in Jin’s remarks in the Financial Times: ‘China benefited a lot from the existing international system. China needs to do something which can help it be recognized as a responsible member and maybe a responsible leader in the future… if it does well, that will enhance China’s credibility, but if this institution does not follow the international best practice, who will believe in China in the future’. Skeptics, however, question whether it is ever possible that China will allow the AIIB to develop into an actual multilateral bank.