Business & Investment

China-backed AIIB remains open to lending to Myanmar’s junta

The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank remains open to funding projects in Myanmar, even if Southeast Asian countries do not return to democracy.

AIIB Vice President Joachim von Amsberg told the Financial Times that the bank had no new projects under consideration for Myanmar, but had a framework for dealing with a “de facto government.” It was.

“We go through a checklist rather than thinking about the form of government,” he said.

The statement came as Myanmar overthrew the Aung San Suu Kyi administration and pressured governments and businesses to break ties with Myanmar’s junta. I was broken. To be About the protesters.

In response to activist concerns, Western energy groups TotalEnergies and Chevron last week Suspended cash dividend Became a state-owned oil and gas company in Myanmar.

Japanese beer group Kirin and Korean steel company POSCO also announced Plan to withdraw from joint venture With a conglomerate managed by the Myanmar military.

The AIIB checklist includes an assessment of whether the de facto government effectively controls the territory, state perceptions of other financial obligations, the position of neighboring countries, and potential financial risks. I will.

“I don’t think the hypothesis can be answered. It must be based on a particular project proposal and at a particular point in time,” says von Amsberg.

When there was AIIB Released in 2016 By Xi Jinping, it was widely seen as part of an ambitious whole area Ichiro infrastructure plan of the Chinese president. Since then, AIIB has approved the funding of more than 24 billion dollars in 119 projects.

Soldiers on a school bus outside a school in Yangon. International companies have announced plans to withdraw from joint ventures with military-backed companies © STRINGER / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

The bank has been seen by some and some critics of Beijing’s growing influence through diplomacy and international economic governance, with 103 member states including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Almost doubled.

But the crisis in Myanmar has cast doubt on how Beijing, which has long been the lifeline of Myanmar’s economy, will form a relationship with the military junta.

Yun Sung, a Myanmar-China affairs expert at the Stimson Center think tank, said Chinese investors and businesses were ultimately struck by the Western group leaving Myanmar and imposing sanctions on coup leaders. He said he hopes to intervene and fill the gap. ..

“If Western companies decide to withdraw, it will be inevitable that China will expand its influence and increase its share of the Burmese market. It also says,” Isolation and sanctions are best. Is it a strategy? ” ”

The only AIIB-affiliated project with Myanmar was to fund a private gas-fired power plant in 2016 with $ 20 million.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are lenders to Myanmar and operate in Myanmar, have temporarily suspended payments and new contracts after the coup d’etat.

The Government of National Unity, formed by supporters of the exiled leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Warned foreign lenders It does not respect the debt owed by the military junta.

Although the AIIB was a relatively young institution, multilateral lenders generally have decades of experience in complex situations and can play a role in relieving tensions, World Bank veteran Fong.・ Amsberg said.

“The great thing about multilateral development banks is that they are forums with a governance mechanism that includes countries with difficult, sometimes conflicting or worrisome relationships,” he said.

Since the coup d’etat in Myanmar on February 1, more than 800 people have died and 4,000 have been imprisoned. I’m having a hard time working, Myanmar Failed state..

As Political crisis deepensAnother important consideration for the international community is the well-being of the country’s 54 million people.The United Nations warns that nearly half of the population could survive a double blow from a coronavirus pandemic and coup. Below the official poverty line in Myanmar By next year, it will be about $ 1 a day.

Von Amsberg said the AIIB has always “prioritized” funding requests from Member States with “particularly demanding funding and development needs.”

“Obviously, if we receive a funding offer from a country with a large infrastructure gap or a country with a large unmet need for people for energy, transportation, water and such services We pay more attention to those demands, “he said.

“It does not overturn our policies or concerns about sound banking, but we prioritize projects when the development case is particularly strong.”

Additional report by Sherry Fay Ju in Beijing

China-backed AIIB remains open to lending to Myanmar’s junta China-backed AIIB remains open to lending to Myanmar’s junta

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