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Economy

Jakarta wants second board position after Beijing

JAKARTA -- Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro has told the Nikkei Asian Review that his country wants the position of vice president on the board of the forthcoming Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as China prepares to pin down the bank's founding members in April.

     As the largest economy in ASEAN, Jakarta also wants a "significant amount of ownership," the minister said.

     Brodjonegoro said he has already discussed the matter with his Chinese counterpart, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei: "I've talked to the Chinese finance minister about the location of the headquarters, the ownership in the new bank and our position on the board. Indonesia is an important country and possibly will become the biggest client for the new lender. At least we must have the post of vice president."

     Brodjonegoro said he believes AIIB will complement older multilateral institutions such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank given the large number of infrastructure projects stretching existing financial resources.

     Indonesia will be a founding member of AIIB, which was initiated by China and has attracted interest from more than 60 countries. On Thursday, South Korea and Turkey both said they would join.

     Jakarta has been lobbying keenly, reflecting its strong interest in the AIIB which is expected to provide significant liquidity in Asia and facilitate infrastracure demand worth over $700 billion a year.

     President Joko Widodo at one point suggested to China's President Xi Jinping that Jakarta host the new bank's headquarters, but Beijing announced on Thursday a preference among prospective members for China.

     China is seeking increased engagement with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year as the bloc gears up to promote economic integration through the ASEAN Economic Community. As the largest economy in ASEAN, Jakarta expects this to strengthen its hand at the AIIB. 

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