On Sunday, Australia announced it would join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), reversing a previous decision to not participate. Earlier this month, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and South Korea have decided to join the AIIB despite American cautions against joining the bank. Privately, US officials have cautioned allies to refrain from joining the bank due to concerns over bank standards pertaining to governance and transparency, specifically concerning the role of the board of governors and government control over the bank. Some see China’s launch of the AIIB as a direct threat to undermine the influence of the World Bank.
“This marks a very sobering moment for Australia as until now we have subcontracted to the US our policy in relation to how to respond to China’s rise,” said professor Hugh White of strategic studies at Australian National University said. “This gives real for pause for thought in how Australia positions itself for the future.”