(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signed a letter of application to join the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Israel seeks to join roughly 40 countries, including several Western and Asian allies such as the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore Korea, Switzerland and Denmark, as founding members of the bank. The U.S. and Japan have not applied for membership.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that the country's application to the bank highlights the importance of Israel “joining major Asian organizations on the continent.”
“Israel’s membership in the bank will open opportunities for integration of Israeli companies in various infrastructure projects, which will be financed by the bank,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The AIIB was established by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2014 as part of an effort to raise China’s international influence. The U.S. has expressed concern over the Chinese-led bank and initially was opposed to its allies joining the bank, citing concerns over sufficient standards of governance and other safeguards. However, the U.S. eventually dropped opposition after several of its allies said they were joining.
The AIIB has said it will cooperate with other major global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.