Japan’s Jiji Press agency Wednesday quotes Japanese government sources as saying that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Japan to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member.

The sources told Jiji that Merkel made her request to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in an April 1 telephone call. Abe is said to have reiterated his concerns about the AIIB’s structure and lending sustainability.

A high-level European diplomatic source confirmed to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar in an April 6 dispatch that Merkel’s government has vigorously approached Beijing in an effort to disrupt its multi-front strategic partnership with Russia.

“Beijing won’t necessarily listen to this political gesture from Berlin, as China is tuning the strings on its pan-Eurasian New Silk Road project, which implies close trade/commerce/business ties with both Germany and Russia,” Escobar wrote.

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