China draws Canada, Hong Kong into regional bank


Top politics and current affairs news for March 23, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Cheap drugs and grisly murders."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

The U.S. endured a major diplomatic embarrassment two years ago with a failed effort to convince allies not to join China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Since then, China has continued to draw an increasing number of countries around the world into its new financial projects. The Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail, reporting positively on the admission on Thursday of Canada to the bank, noted that the U.S. and Japan stood out as the only two G7 countries still refusing to participate. Canada membership, for a capital subscription of nearly $1 billion, will have a 1 percent stake in the bank, roughly equivalent to that of Israel, Switzerland, and Poland.

Hong Kong also became a new member of the AIIB as part of a group of 13 countries and territories, including Afghanistan, Ireland, and Ethiopia. The South China Morning Post says that Hong Kong’s government intends to seek approval from LegCo, the territory’s Legislative Council, for HK$1.2 billion ($150 million) next month to be paid to the AIIB over five years, for a stake of about 0.7 percent.