Malta was today among 57 governments which formally set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – AIIB.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna represented Malta in the inauguration ceremony held in the Grand Hall of the People in Beijing. 

Earlier, the governments planning to join the bank endorsed a structure that gives Beijing the biggest voting stake - but no power of veto.

Each member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will receive voting shares in line with its contribution to the bank's proposed 100 billion dollars in capital, under the planned framework.

As the biggest donor, Beijing would get 26% of votes, with India in second place with 7.5% and Russia third with 5.9%.

Beijing's proposal for the AIIB attracted unexpectedly wide support from countries such as the UK, New Zealand, France and South Korea, despite US opposition. Washington and its ally Japan have refrained from seeking membership.

The Beijing-based bank is seen in some quarters as part of China's efforts to gain a bigger voice in global financial regulation that is dominated by the United States and Europe.

The bank is intended to finance investments in railways, cargo ports and other trade links. The US government had objected that the bank would undercut existing institutions such as the World Bank and might allow looser lending standards.

While 57 governments have expressed interest in joining the AIIB, not all signed today's agreement. The Philippines said it and six other countries including Thailand and South Africa would not sign immediately and they have until December to make a final decision.

"This proposal was designed to meet Asia's infrastructure development and promote Asia's connectivity and also deepen regional cooperation for the sake of development," said Chinese president Xi Jinping during a meeting with the foreign envoys.

"The very fact that representatives from the 57 prospective founding members are gathering in this room today is testimony to this spirit of solidarity, cooperation, openness and inclusiveness."

China's voting share may be diluted as more members join, vice finance minister Shi Yaobin told the official Xinhua News Agency.

"China is not deliberately seeking a veto power," he said.

The bank will be led by a president with a five-year term that can be extended once. Its working language will be English.


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