China banks snubbing IMF, World Bank events


Chinese banks have pulled out of events linked to annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Japan next week, according to a report, as Tokyo and Beijing remain locked in the vicious diplomatic clash over the Senkaku Islands.

Dow Jones Newswires reported Tuesday it is just the latest sign that the festering territorial dispute is having a wider impact on bilateral, and now multilateral, ties.

“Quite frankly, it’s Japan-China relations,” Dow Jones quoted an official at the Tokyo branch of the Agricultural Bank of China as saying about the bank’s withdrawal from IMF-related events in Tokyo.

The bank is still sponsoring and participating in a meeting of the Institute of International Finance, a global association of financial institutions, that will take place on the sidelines of the main IMF meeting, the report said, citing another official.

The Bank of Communications also has pulled out from IMF-related events, Dow Jones reported, adding that the China Construction Bank is claiming its officials have scheduling problems that will prevent them from taking part. The Bank of China has not decided whether its representatives will attend the IMF meetings, according to the report.

Tensions between Beijing and Tokyo remain high, with Chinese government ships on Tuesday and Wednesday returning to waters off the Japan-controlled Senkaku islets.

China is seeking a say in world affairs commensurate with its growing financial clout, although commentators have pointed out that this kind of action only serves to undermine Beijing’s ambitions.

“China may rightly demand a seat at the head table, but what signal does it send when they go off in a huff over these types of issues?” asked Fraser Howie, who has studied and written about China’s financial system.

“Such boycotts are pointless. They only harm China and make it out to be a unstable and unreliable partner.”