China Creates a World Bank of Its Own, and the U.S. Balks
BEIJING — As top leaders met at a lush Bali resort in October 2013, President Xi Jinping of China described his vision for a new multinational, multibillion-dollar bank to finance roads, rails and power grids across Asia. Under Chinese stewardship, the bank would tackle the slow development in poor countries that was holding the region back from becoming the wealth center of the world.
Afterward, the United States secretary of state, John Kerry, caught up with Mr. Xi in the corridor. “That’s a great idea,” Mr. Kerry said of the bank, according to Chinese and American aides briefed on the encounter.
The enthusiasm didn’t last long, as the Obama administration began a rear-guard battle to minimize the bank’s influence.
The United States worries that China will use the bank to set the global economic agenda on its own terms, forgoing the environmental protections, human rights, anticorruption measures and other governance standards long promoted by its Western counterparts. American officials point to China’s existing record of loans to unstable governments, construction deals for unnecessary infrastructure, and villagers abruptly uprooted with little compensation.