Asia Economy

There's no grand China conspiracy theory involving us: AIIB CFO

Key Points
  • AIIB does not just serve China's interests, CFO says
  • Draw a distinction between One Belt, One Road and AIIB efforts
  • Notes AIIB's main currency is the U.S. dollar
China 'does not have a veto' on decisions, says AIIB CFO

China's rapid economic rise and its mega projects may spur conspiracy theories about the country's intentions, but the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said it does not just serve Chinese interests.

"There's no conspiracy here. The One Belt, One Road initiative is an initiative by China; it's a national initiative while we are a global initiative," said AIIB's chief financial officer, Thierry de Longuemar.

Launched in January 2016 with $100 billion in authorized capital, the AIIB aims to provide infrastructural financing in the Asia-Pacific and is seen as a rival to Western-led institutions like the World Bank and the Japan-dominated Asian Development Bank.

AIIB is not part of China's One Belt, One Road initiative

Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the second AIIB Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Jeju, South Korea, de Longuemar added that the institution is "not an instrument of One Belt, One Road", which covers Asia, Europe and Africa. AIIB's scope spans beyond these regions.

While the is one of the major currencies of the AIIB, the institution's dominant currency is still the dollar, he said.

China is the AIIB's first shareholder. Today, the AIIB has close to 80 members and expects to add another 10 by the end of the year, when membership will just trail the World Bank, said de Longuemar.

Involvement in AIIB is in New Zealand's long-term interest

Founding member New Zealand is unfazed about conspiracy theories.

"If it hadn't been for China over the last few years, global growth would have suffered," said secretary and chief executive of the New Zealand Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf.

"From New Zealand's perspective, what we see is a region in the world where it's in our interest that it grows well, it's in our interest that it grows peacefully, it's in our interest that it's successful. We are very happy to work with countries who have the same aspirations as us. What other people think, well, that's for them to think," he told CNBC at the same event.