BEIJING, April 15 (UPI) -- China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank finalized a list of 57 founding member states on Wednesday.
The announcement came after China accepted the last group of nations that includes Sweden, Israel, Poland and South Africa, reported The South China Morning Post.
Founding members have the right to establish the rules for the bank's activities. They hold other privileges that will not be available to countries that may opt to join the bank at a later point.
The United States and Japan have abstained from joining the AIIB, but South Korea, a key U.S. ally in the region, has agreed to join as a founding member along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, France and Germany.
An overwhelming number of South and Southeast Asian nations have also been approved as founding members by Beijing.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported the bank would continue to accept new members interested in providing financing for roads, railways, and other infrastructure projects in Asia.
On Wednesday, Taiwan expressed disappointment that Beijing had turned down its application as founding member, reported Voice of America.
Analysts said China is adhering to its principle of allowing only sovereign states join the bank as founding members.
Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory and according to Wu Chung-li, a political science research fellow at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Beijing's approval of Taiwan would then raise questions about the statuses of Hong Kong and Macau -- Chinese territories that are granted a greater degree of autonomy than other parts of China.
Hong Kong activists continue to lobby Beijing for more independence.
The AIIB is the first Asian bank to have international backing but to also operate outside the influence of the Bretton Woods banking system.