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May 5, 2017

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ADB willing to cooperate with China on Belt and Road plan

ASIAN Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao yesterday said China’s Belt and Road initiative is a good idea and the ADB is willing to cooperate.

The Belt and Road is a natural concept not only for China, but also for the rest of the world, Nakao said at the opening press conference for the bank’s four-day annual meeting in Yokohama, east Japan.

Nakao said Manila-based ADB and China can cooperate because of their shared vision on strengthening connectivity among nations.

He acclaimed China’s increasing engagement with the ADB and expressed willingness to enhance the cooperation between the ADB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“Because we have different objectives and different kind of ideas about management, I think we can complement each other,” he said. “There are many things in common so we can cooperate.”

“The financing needs are so large so we don’t need to regard the AIIB as a kind of a rival in that regard. We can cooperate,” Nakao said.

He added that he discussed areas of cooperation with Chinese Minister of Finance Xiao Jie, who will be in Tokyo for a meeting with his counterparts from Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations today.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who before Nakao headed the ADB, said there was ample room for AIIB to cooperate with other development banks like the ADB and the World Bank.

“There are huge infrastructure needs so it’s great to have more institutions keen to support this,” Kuroda said yesterday, adding that he did not think the AIIB would conflict with the roles played by the ADB and the World Bank.

The ADB and the AIIB have agreed to co-finance three projects — two last year and one this year, Nakao said.

The two lenders have discussed how they can use local currencies for financing instead of US dollars, how they can enhance expertise by their staff and how they can secure environmental and social safeguards, Nakao said.

As a developing country, China still borrows from the regional lender, though these days much of that financing goes to mitigating the impacts of climate change, Nakao said.

The ADB has been led by Japan and the United States since its founding in 1966, and China joined in 1986. Japan and the US have not joined the AIIB.

The ADB currently has 67 members.


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