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Lawmakers agree to submit letter of intent to join AIIB

Lawmakers agree to submit letter of intent to join AIIB

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) Legislators agreed Tuesday that the Executive Yuan should submit a letter of intent to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (???) on condition that the country's dignity is not compromised and its interests are upheld. In announcing the consensus reached by ruling and opposition party lawmakers, Vice Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (???) requested government agencies to submit a comprehensive plan and assessment of AIIB membership to the Legislature and brief the Finance Committee on efforts to join. The legislative consensus came a day after President Ma Ying-jeou (???) decided at a national security meeting to send a letter of intent on joining the new bank to the Interim Secretariat for Establishing the AIIB. The Ministry of Finance was given the responsibility of drafting the letter and then submitting it to the Executive Yuan for approval. Once approved, it will be submitted by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to the organization's interim secretariat through the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council. Lawmakers reached their consensus after several rounds of clashes and scuffles. Members of the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) occupied the podium at 8:40 a.m. to protest China's opening of a controversial flight route in the Taiwan Strait and also what they described as under-the-table maneuvers related to Taiwan's bid to join the AIIB. Legislator Kao Chin Su-mei (????) of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union first confronted TSU Legislator Chou Ni-an (???), and several Kuomintang legislators then tried to push the TSU legislator away from the podium. Hung was able to preside over the proceedings thanks to Kao Chin and several KMT Legislators despite Chou's efforts to disrupt the session by trying to remove microphones from the podium. More commotion followed, and Hung had to break twice for consultations among lawmakers. Before appearing at the Legislature on Tuesday to answer questions on Taiwan's potential AIIB membership, Premier Mao Chi-kuo (???) said the government will join the AIIB based on the principle of dignity. He also pledged that the application process will be transparent and will pursue maximum benefits for the country and fair treatment as a member. "If the above conditions cannot be met, we would rather not join," the premier said. The Ministry of Finance said it began to study potential membership in the AIIB at the request of the Executive Yuan in November 2014 when it learned of China's plan and gathered information about it at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Beijing. The MOF then started to ask other government agencies, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council and the central bank for their views on Taiwan's bid, and it completed its assessment on March 4. According to Chinese figures, 44 counties have applied to become founding members of the AIIB with the Tuesday night deadline fast approaching. Countries that do not meet the deadline will have to take part as ordinary members.
The signing of AIIB charters will be completed by the end of June, and the bank's official operations will begin by the end of the year. (By Chen Wei-ting, Tseng Ying-yu, Ta Ya-chen, Wen Kuei-hsing , Wei Shu and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-26 00:37 GMT+08:00