China is moving ahead with its plans to create a development bank that can serve as an alternative to what it sees as the Western-dominated World Bank and IMF, but its plans have not gone off without a hitch. The Wall Street Journal reports:
[M]any of the countries that China’s government hoped would join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank won’t be present at the signing of a preliminary agreement in Beijing.U.S. officials have attempted to sway countries not to join, publicly raising concerns about China’s ability to ensure international standards of governance at the institution. […]
No developed countries will be present on Friday, according to an Indian government official. India will sign the agreement—a step toward the later formal establishment of the bank—along with roughly 20 other countries from across Asia, the official said.Beijing was betting on the participation of Australia, a major trade partner which relies on Chinese demand for its natural resources and is currently negotiating a trade pact with China. An Australian government official said the country hadn’t decided whether to join and was unaware of the agreement to be signed Friday.
China wants to have it both ways. It wants to reap the profits of working within the bounds of the liberal international order as it grows, but longs to challenge that order and set itself at the center of a new system. For a detailed look at these contradictory aims, we encourage you to read Bruce D. Jones’s excellent July essay.