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Finance

AIIB to have more than 40 founding members

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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Boao Forum in China's Hainan Province on March 28. Xi expressed his confidence in the AIIB at the gathering.   © Kyodo

BOAO, China/BERLIN -- More than 40 countries are likely to become founding members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

     Russia is the latest to announce that it will participate in the AIIB. It did so Saturday when Igor Shuvalov, first deputy prime minister, expressed the intention during the Boao Forum in China's southern Hainan Province.

     The announcement came a day after Brazil's decision to join the bank. The office of Brazil's president issued a statement Friday that Brazil had accepted China's invitation. This means four of the five BRICS will join; only South Africa has not committed.

     Meanwhile, Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann said at the Boao Forum that Canberra will officially announce on Sunday morning.

     China's finance ministry has said the Netherlands and other countries will follow suit.

     Denmark also announced Saturday that it will join. Northern European countries are getting ready to jump in. A Swedish finance ministry official told the Nikkei that Sweden is mulling founding-member status. The Finnish government is said to be deliberating the matter as well.

     Speaking at the Boao Forum on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed confidence about Beijing's steady progress toward establishing the AIIB. "We will welcome with open arms moves to finish the important job in partnership with our friends around the world," he said.

     While Xi is calling for international relations to be based on cooperation and mutual benefit, he is moving to strengthen China's international ties via the country's economic clout. He also wants China to play a central role in Asian diplomacy.

     In October, 21 countries reached a basic agreement to establish the AIIB. More have since expressed their intention to be a part of the institution. The deadline to sign on is Tuesday.

     Japan and the U.S. remain wary of China's intentions with the bank.

     Separately, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have agreed to establish a new BRICS development bank to support economic development in Africa as well as in Central and South America.

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