Is The Sovereignty Clause Influencing Taiwan's Attendance in AIIB?

Is The Sovereignty Clause Influencing Taiwan's Attendance in AIIB?
Photo Credit:AP/ 達志影像

What you need to know

Bank Group President of AIIB emphasizes the "sovereignty clause” in the AIIB Agreement, leading concerns to Taiwan’s official attendance in the investment bank.

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Translated by Yuan-ling Liang
Edited by Olivia Yang

On January 17, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) held an opening ceremony in Beijing. As an initiative, China prepared US$50 million to support infrastructure development in member states.

57 Prospective Founding Members (PFM) participated in the opening ceremony. President Xi Jinping stated in his opening speech that the purpose of AIIB is to build a development bank that operates multilaterally in the 21st century and contributes to the development of Asia and the entire world. During the ceremony, the bank’s council of supervisors elected Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei as council chairperson, and Jin Liqun, former chairperson of China International Capital Corp, as AIIB’s president.

Asked by the press whether or not Taiwan’s election would have an impact on its attendance in AIIB, Bank Group President Jin Li-qun replies, “According to Art. 3.3 of Agreement of AIIB, in the case of an applicant which is not sovereign or not responsible for the conduct of its international relations, application for membership in the Bank shall be presented or agreed by the member of the Bank responsible for its international relations.”

Wu Mei-hung, former deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), stated before that, “This article has nothing to do with our application to attending as a member, and the government has already stated publicly it can’t be applied in Taiwan’s case. We will never accept any condition that’s against our participation, dignity and rights.”

Last October in Washington, Kim pointed out that whether or not Taiwan attends the AIIB is a “domestic issue.” Wu stated back then that Taiwan’s attendance in AIIB is not “ just about cross-strait affairs.” She said before that according to AIIB regulations, the membership is open to all members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Since Taiwan is a founding member of the ADB, it undoubtedly fits in Art. 3.2 and can attend as a former member of the ADB. Wu stated, “It’s not related to Taiwan’s situation at all. The government has refused publicly to accept its adoption in our nation’s case, and we would not tolerate any harm to our sovereignty.”