Australia may join China-led AIIB bank if conditions met

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Australia counts China as its largest trading partner and may join its new development bank initiative

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Australia said its "prepared to join" a new China-led infrastructure bank should certain conditions be met.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the country had been talking to China about how the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) would be governed.

He added that a decision will be made "in the next few days".

Britain, France and Germany have also announced plans to join the new Beijing-based lender, which is seen as a rival to the World Bank.

However, that has drawn concern from the US, which sees the AIIB as a tool which China can use to extend its political influence.

Washington has also said the new lender needs to meet international governance and other standards.

"We have been talking to the Chinese to try to ensure that it is in fact a multilateral institution, that it is run in all important respects by a board, that its processes are transparent, that it is genuinely accountable and that it is not controlled by any one entity," Mr Abbott told Australia's parliament.

The AIIB has more than 30 members and countries have until the end of March to decide whether or not they would seek membership.

The institution will have about $50bn (£34bn) in initial funds that will be disbursed to help address the region's growing demand for roads, ports and other infrastructure facilities.

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