Chinese President Xi calls AIIB's launch 'historical moment'

Breaking News January 16, 2016 16:57

By Li Xiaokun
China Daily
Asia

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The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) launched its inaugural ceremony on Saturday morning at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse with President Xi Jinping attending the event.



"This is a historical moment," Xi said addressing the event in downtown Beijing.

The AIIB could increase Asia infrastructure investment effectively and promote regional interconnection and economic integration, which will have a positive effect on Asian and global economy, said Xi.

Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to address the founding conference of the AIIB council in the afternoon. The series of opening activities will last from Jan 16 to 18.

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei was elected as the first chairman of the AIIB council. Jin Liqun was elected the first AIIB president.

The opening of the AIIB marked a milestone in the reform of the global economic governance system, Lou said in an interview.

The AIIB will work together with multilateral development banks including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to facilitate Asian infrastructure construction and sustainable development, Lou said.

When addressing the inaugural ceremony, South Korean Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho quoted a sentence of famous Chinese writer Lu Xun to describe the process of AIIB's establishment:

"Originally there is no path in this world, but when there are many who have walked upon it, then a path came into being."

Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg's finance minister, said the AIIB will be a boost to the Asian economy.

"I can assure you, President Xi Jinping, that your initiative has received a lot of positive support from many members of the European Union."

The development bank was formally established in Beijing on Dec 25, 2015. It's the first China-initiated multi-lateral financial institution.

In 2013, President Xi Jinping first proposed the idea of the bank. In just two years, the bank, headquartered in Beijing, now has 57 members, many from outside the region.

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