BEIJING: Several questions remain to be answered about an Asian infrastructure lender proposed by Beijing, the Japanese head of the existing Asian Development Bank said Thursday.

China is expected on Friday to sign a memorandum of understanding with around 20 countries towards the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as Beijing seeks to increase its global heft.

`Our POSITION about AIIB is first that it is understandable because there is a very big financingneedin theregion,` ADBPresident Takehiko Nakao told REPORTERS.

But he said he was still awaiting details about the bank such as MEMBERSHIP, shareholdings, the location of its headquarters and who will head it.

The AIIB should `adhere to the international standards,` he said.

Beijing last year proposed the bank, seen as a potential rival to existing Westernand Japanese-dominated institutions such as the World Bank and the ADB, which is based in Manila.

China`s rise to become the world`s secondlargest economy has been accompanied by a desire to play a greater role in international organisations, such as the InternationalMonetary Fund, the World Bank and the ADB, which have been dominated by Europe, the United States and Japan.

Concrete details about the AIIB remain elusive, but it is REPORTEDLY expected to have initial capital of $50 billion and will be designed to meet Asia`s burgeoning demand for transportation, dams, ports and other facilities.

Chinese foreign ministry spol(eswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday that the AIIB `will carry out close cooperation with other…

development institutions and promote regional cooperation and partnership`.

She added that 21 Asian countries have decided to become founding members of the bank or are willing to do so, including India.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in July that estimates for infrastructure needs in developing countries are at least $1 trillion annually, far beyond the current capacity of his institution and private investment to handle.

`We think that the need for new investments in infrastructure is massive and we think that we can work very well and cooperatively with any of these new banks once they become a reality,` Kim told reporters in Beijing.-AFP

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