Despite the U.S. dedication to containing Chinese economic influence in Asian economies, Britain will be joining the China-backed AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), a World Bank look-a-like for the Asian communities. This will significantly affect the American efforts.
The United Kingdom has applied to join the AIIB, according to the official statement of George Osborne, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is the first Western economy that has applied for joining, and potentially the first Western member of the AIIB.
The AIIB is the major point of friction in U.S. and China’s battle for domination over the Pacific, and other U.S. allies in the Pacific, such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, were strongly discouraged from joining. Hence, it was very soon after the British decision reached the public that the White House articulated its displeasure.
As quoted in the Financial Times, a U.S. official noted that the British government did not consult with the United States upon making this decision, and continued to explain that the country is cautious in its approach towards China, avoiding to perpetually accommodate its needs.
On the other hand, Prime Minister David Cameron’s constant seeking of trade with China has been a source of displeasure, as it is causing the country to significantly reduce the official criticism of the various human rights issues taking place in China. Last week’s report of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons on Hong Kong protests noted that the British position on expected constitutional reforms in Hong Kong should be “unambiguous,” thus stressing that the country should be strong in its support for democracy.