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更新时间:2015-3-21 8:55:35 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Washington’s Arrogance May Have Pushed Countries to Join Asian Bank

BEIJING — When Xi Jinping, then the newly minted Chinese leader, first broached the idea of a new Asian development bank in a public speech in 2013, few in Washington paid it much heed.


But as Beijing systematically recruited longtime American allies to help fund and oversee the new bank, it became clear that the push was more than a public relations gesture to China’s Asian neighbors. It was also a direct threat to the post-World War II financial institutions led primarily by the United States, and to President Obama’s pledges to make a “pivot” to Asia in American foreign policy.


Now with Britain, France, Germany and Italy signing up to join the new bank, despite direct pleas from Washington to steer clear, the question is whether the Obama administration mishandled a significant challenge from China, and what it might have done differently.


“The administration made a major mistake in its opposition. It was a very shortsighted,” said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing. “The bank was going to go ahead whether we supported it or not.”

“奥巴马政府的反对,是一个重大错误,很短视,”位于北京的卡内基-清华中心(Carnegie-Tsinghua Center)主任韩磊(Paul Haenle)表示。“无论我们支不支持,这家银行都会走下去。”

The United States would have been wiser, he and others said, to temper its resentment of China’s efforts to raise its international profile and play a bigger role in global financial affairs. Some argue it may also have sought to play a role in an Asia-focused bank led by China, just as Washington expects China to contribute more to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Washington-based lending agencies for development and monetary stability.

韩磊及其他人士评价称,美国面对中国努力提升国际地位,在全球金融事务中扮演更大角色的做法,应该克制自己的反感,这才是更明智的做法。一些人认为,美方也应该寻求,在由中国领导的这家关注亚洲的银行中扮演一定角色,就像华盛顿期待中国向世界银行(World Bank)和国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)做出更多贡献一样。世界银行和IMF是由华盛顿主导的贷款机构,目标是促进发展和维护金融稳定。

The willingness of Britain to join the China bank over American objections was an especially clear sign of China’s sophisticated strategy for winning friends, and Washington’s failure to respond effectively.


The British chancellor, George Osborne, had made clear his desire to change Britain’s attitude toward China. The Chinese knew that he wanted to make London a platform for overseas business transacted in Chinese currency, a first step to the convertibility of the renminbi. Just two weeks after Mr. Xi’s speech on the bank, which the Chinese leader delivered in Indonesia, Mr. Osborne visited Beijing, where the courting began.

英国财政大臣乔治·奥斯本(George Osborne)明确表达了让英国改变对华态度的愿望。中国明白奥斯本希望让伦敦成为人民币海外商业交易的平台,这将是人民币走向自由兑换的第一步。习近平在印度尼西亚公开表示要建立新银行后仅仅两周,奥斯本访问北京,示好就是从那时开始的。

The confluence of Chinese and British interests led to Mr. Osborne’s announcement last week that Britain would become a founding member of the bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. American opposition was made clear, but most likely came late in the process.

中国和英国利益的交汇,促使奥斯本于上周宣布,英国将成为亚洲基础设施投资银行(Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank)的创始成员国。美国明确表示反对,但美方的表态在这个进程中可能已经太晚了。

The British decision cleared the way for other European allies that China had courted to go Beijing’s way, as well. Australia is expected to sign up in the next week, according to government officials, and South Korea is likely to follow.


Speaking of Britain, an angry senior administration official told The Financial Times that the decision to join the bank was one more sign of “constant accommodation” of China.

奥巴马政府一位高级官员在评论英国的做法时,对英国《金融时报》(Financial Times)表示,加入这家银行的决定更像是“一贯迎合”中国的一个迹象。

One problem is that Washington did not offer much of an alternative to China’s call to inject far more funding into building roads, railroads and pipelines around Asia, much of which remains underdeveloped. There is little dispute, Mr. Haenle said, that the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have been unable to fulfill the infrastructure needs in the region.


“But there is a strain in Washington that if the U.S. is not in the lead, then the U.S. should not be part of it,” he said.


Early on, the United States should have realized that China was determined to create the bank, and that Washington should have tried to influence its creation rather than block it, analysts in Washington and Asia said.


China was upset that after the 2008 financial crisis, Congress rebuffed legislation intended to increase Beijing’s voice in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Now that China was sitting on more than $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, Beijing could easily afford to finance an entirely new institution that would have a majority Chinese stake with other countries as minority shareholders, they said.


Moreover, China had decided that it wanted to use its excess capacity in steel, concrete and pipes to build up neighboring economies and benefit the Chinese economy, said Laurence J. Brahm, an American who worked with Prime Minister Zhu Rongji on China’s entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

此外,中国想利用其在钢铁、水泥和管道方面的过剩产能来建设周边的经济体,造福于中国经济,龙安志(Laurence J. Brahm)说;他是美国人,曾为中国2001年加入世贸组织一事与朱镕基总理有所交集。

“China’s economy will benefit from the export of its own labor to build the infrastructure in the region,” he said.


That China would use the bank for its own pet projects in Asia and try to knit together the poorer countries of Southeast and Central Asia into an economic sphere of influence was one of the main worries in Washington.


Even so, the administration could have adopted a positive approach. It had the option of agreeing that investing in infrastructure was needed in Asia, and that China, flush with cash, had the ability to fill the gap, said Matthew Goodman, senior adviser on Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

即便如此,美国政府也可以采取积极的态度。美国国际战略研究中心(Center for Strategic and International Studies)高级顾问马修·古德曼(Matthew Goodman)说,政府可以选择赞同这个观点:亚洲需要在基础设施建设上投资,而中国现金充裕,拥有填补这个缺口的能力。

From that more supportive position, Washington would have been in a better position to try to shape the new bank’s rules on lending, the environment and transparency, he said.


China’s Finance Ministry has told prospective members that it will strive to make the new bank a first-class operation that will manage to deliver projects more efficiently than the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.


To that end, the Chinese have asked a lawyer who worked at the World Bank for over 30 years, Natalie Lichtenstein, to help prepare the bank’s charter. Such people are important to the bank’s success, said Fred Hu, the founder of Primavera Capital, a private equity firm in Beijing, who early in his career worked at the World Bank.

为此,中国已经聘请了曾在世界银行供职30多年的律师娜塔莉·里奇汀斯坦(Natalie Lichtenstein)来帮助亚投行制定章程。亚投行要想获得成功,吸纳这样人才非常重要,北京私募股权公司春华资本集团(Primavera Capital Group)的创始人胡祖六(Fred Hu)说;他早年曾供职于世界银行。

“The last thing China and A.I.I.B. needs is that some of the fears expressed by Washington are validated,” he said. “Attracting world-class talent is absolutely crucial.”


And mindful of reputation, the Finance Ministry has deflected an interest in bank membership from Iran, saying it might consider Iran in a second round, but not as a founding member.