SEOUL, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The South Korean government reportedly plans to make an official announcement in the near future of its decision to join the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Citing a senior government official, local newspaper Donga Ilbo reported Thursday that the government decided to enter the bank as one of the founding members before the deadline ends in late March.
Officials from the ministries in charge of the AIIB entry affairs, including the finance and foreign ministries, are set to meet and discuss entry conditions in the near future before making an official announcement supposedly next week.
The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae denied local media reports, but several local newspapers said that South Korea already decided to join the AIIB, citing officials from the finance and foreign ministries.
Ahn Jong-beom, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, told a press briefing Wednesday that the government has made no announcement and no detailed negotiations about whether to join the AIIB, saying that nothing has been decided yet "at the current stage."
The South Korean government reportedly made the decision as it thought that joining the AIIB would correspond to interests of South Korea, which could have chances to participate in infrastructure development projects in Asia as a member of the international financial institution.
Recent decisions by European countries to join the AIIB may have made South Korea feel comfortable. Germany, France and Italy on Tuesday confirmed intentions to join the bank after Britain's application last week to become a founding member of the institution.
Twenty-one countries, including China, India and Singapore, signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing in October last year to build the AIIB.