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Chinese finance minister says AIIB open to countries committed to Asian, global development

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BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is open and welcomes all countries that are committed to Asia's development and global economic development.

Lou said the consultation process of AIIB follows the sequence of "regional first and non-regional later" . Countries that signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing AIIB (MOU) Friday are all regional countries in Asia and will be the first batch of Prospective Founding Members.

Lou said these regional Prospective Founding Members will begin the negotiation of the Articles of Agreement (AOA) thereafter. Other countries can also become Prospective Founding Members and join the process of negotiating AOA if they endorsed this MOU and be accepted by the existing Prospective Founding Members.

He said it is expected that the Prospective Founding Members will complete the signing and ratification of the AOA in 2015 and AIIB will be formally established by the end of 2015. Original signatories of the AOA will be the Founding Members of AIIB. Therefore, membership of AIIB will be not limited to countries that signed the MOU Friday.

"AIIB is an open, inclusive institution. All countries that are committed to regional development in Asia and global economic development can join AIIB. We believe there will be more countries joining it in the future," he said.

Twenty-first Asian countries that are willing to join AIIB as founding members on Friday signed the MOU. As agreed, Beijing will be the host city for the AIIB' s headquarters.

The 21 countries are Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

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