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Britain's involvement in AIIB reflects its pragmatism in bonds with Asia

Britain's announcement of its intention to become a prospective founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the afterward criticism from the United States have raised heating debates here.

Experts said that the decision made by the British Treasury Thursday reflect the country's pragmatism on its economic and financial relationship with Asian countries, and it does not mean a change of its geopolitical strategies priorities.

Danny Quah, a professor at London School of Economics (LSE), said that Britain has already re-adjusted its trading, economic and financial ties with Asia, as the world has entered into a new normal with strong characteristics of the rise of the east.

Answering questions of Xinhua during a speech at LSE, Quah said:" The United Kingdom is going to be in a far better position in re-orientating trade patterns toward to the east ..."

Quah said, "That (is) what Germany has done so well during the recent crisis. It used to be that Germany exported to the United States more than anywhere of the world, but it reversed itself two years ago. Germany today exports a third more to developing Asia, to the east than to the United States."

What is good for the world is good for the United States, as the world is now quite different than it was before, with emerging economies and developing countries now are taking up more than 50 percent of the world's economy, he said.

Michael Cox, Professor Emeritus at LSE, told Xinhua that the decision does not mean Britain is repositioning itself in its geopolitical strategy.

"I think it's about making money, the fundamental geopolitical relationship would remain as what they have been before: first, the United States, second, the United States, third, the United States," he said.

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer of Britain, said in a statement, "This government has actively promoted closer political and economic engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and forging links between the UK and Asian economies to give our companies the best opportunity to work and invest in the world's fastest growing markets is a key part of our long term economic plan."

Mark Boleat, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, said in a note that the Cancellor's announcement further demonstrates the importance of the Asian market to the UK.

"With more than 20 Asian countries signed as funding members, the bank will contribute more funding for development of infrastructure in this region. Infrastructure, advanced engineering, financial services, and green technology are the areas where the UK excels and industries that are in increasingly high demand as the Asian economies continue to grow rapidly," he said.

"Further engagement in these areas are new ways to support the development of the comprehensive strategic partnerships between the UK and its Asian partners," he added.

[Source: Xinhua, London, 13Mar15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 16Mar15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.