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Politics & Law Series: Expert Comment

'UK joining new China bank is important, but let's not exaggerate'

Professor Inderjeet Parmar commented on US concern over the UK's move to join AIIB

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

The UK's move to join a new Chinese international bank should "reassure" and not alarm the US, according to City University London's Professor Inderjeet Parmar

The academic admits Britain's application to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) "will not be music to US ears", with a United States spokesman saying the country was "wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China". 

However, Professor Parmar, the Head of the Department of International Politics at City, says the new bank does not represent a "fundamental challenge to the US-made post-1945 order". 

“Let’s not exaggerate," he said. "China is still a minnow on the global financial stage compared with the US, let alone the combined power of the West. And the new IFI has fewer funds than the Asian Development Bank.

“In my view, the much bigger picture is that China is becoming a ‘normal’ state and not a threat to world order per se. It is not challenging the rules of the game but is just becoming more competitive.

"This will displease the US but it provides an assurance to others that China’s a force for stability and growth, and economic and financial opportunity. Britain’s joining actually should reassure the US, as the UK’s own financial rules are stringent and should have an effect on the new Chinese IFI.

“However, the UK is a major global player so this move does signal something important – that China is a great economic opportunity for all and that many others want to share in its power and rise, and the opportunities that affords. Of course, it will not be music to US ears as it’s a further sign of China’s growing influence, so there is competition now which did not exist before.

"The world’s capitalist powers have a major new member of the club and the old members have to shuffle along and make room. But this is not a fundamental challenge to the US-made post-1945 order."

Proposed by China, the AIIB is an international financial institution designed to provide funds to infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is regarded by some as a rival to the World Bank.The UK government hopes that joining the bank will give the country and its companies the chance to invest in some of the world's fastest growing markets.

Professor Inderjeet Parmar is among the City experts who will be commenting on the UK general election in May 2015. His expertise includes:

  • British foreign policy and its liberal interventionism
  • Anti-terrorism or counter-terrorism
  • Wars on ISIS, Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Anglo-US relations.
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