I wouldn't underestimate the destructive power of spite in the case of Taiwan, as a significant segment of the population there is tunnel visioned with an extreme anti-China bias similar to the most radical Hong Kong protesters who have been assaulting people they presume to be mainland tourists recently.Have now finished reading the document.
Very clearly this is rather more than a business plan for building a few roads and railways. It is nothing less than a full blue print for a Chinese led process of Pan Continental Integration and also a blue print for the form and nature of that Chinese leadership. This is of course an Integration not only of infrastructure, facilities and resources, but also of standards, protocols and institutions.
In essence, this is the building of a new Sinocentric world, a building of China outside of China and this is of course the nub of the matter from a security perspective.
Pretty obviously, this has major implications for the status of Taiwan. If the last twenty years have portrayed the Cross Straits relationship as a stand-off along the Strait with Taiwan at the front-line of the Western World, this is all about to change. China has indeed unleashed its full might at the problem; but not in a head on assault, but in a wide flanking movement that will envelope the entire Asia Pacific region and one which will make the entire "Independence" argument pointless, because an independent Taiwan will have nowhere to go.
The AIIB is the seed fund of the project and it will help co-ordinate and set up new financial institutions and facilities in the project areas. In short it is creating an entirely new and independent Financial Architecture for the Continent that can operate and develop separately from existing global structures.
The rush to join AIIB is done in the knowledge of this and the understanding of the project AIIB is going to finance. I think we have the clearest indication of where the International community truly stands on this in relation to any choice it may have to make between the Chinese Silk and Maritime Roads and the US TPP.
No surprise either as to how China presents its leadership role. The document reads like the vision document of a new CEO and so the style of Chairman of the Board is the message being put out (very much in the style of Chinese Governance itself) and very much in contrast with Hegemonic nature of US Presidential power.
There is a huge amount of "Face" tied up in a document as ambitious as this and so we can only assume that nearly all the ground work with all the key players has already been concluded and that the publication of the document is the starting gun to start work in earnest.
Outside of China can anyone else offer low interests loans to it's neighbors? That's why the AIIB is too important to ignore even to those who disagrees with China's in any way.I wouldn't underestimate the destructive power of spite in the case of Taiwan, as a significant segment of the population there is tunnel visioned with an extreme anti-China bias similar to the most radical Hong Kong protesters who have been assaulting people they presume to be mainland tourists recently.
There are also other potential sources of spite that can easily ruin the Silk Road party, India and Pakistan, Russia and several other former Soviet states, and conflicts in the Middle East and Africa come readily to mind.
As long as Japan and the US maintain a separate economic circle then Taiwan does have alternatives to a potentially China-led one in Asia. Also Africa, Europe, and the Americas are still out there, Taiwan would be missing out but would also be far from isolated.
I am not buying either the AIIB or the Silk Road initiative being a China dominated scheme as there are too many big players for that to happen, at a minimum Russia and India will certainly have a lot of influence and can easily make things very difficult for China. Though as you mentioned, China must have discussed and received some form of consent from these powers before making the public announcement.
Despite the obvious overlap between the AIIB and the Silk Road initiative I would also be careful to not presume they are always linked as the Silk Road initiative mentions many other avenues of funding including its very own Silk Road Fund. My expectation is that the AIIB will focus on projects related to the maritime route while other funding sources cover the overland one.
Finally, while the US may have been unnecessarily antagonistic and dictatorial towards China and others, it is never too late to change course to be more collaborative which I think will benefit the US overall. It can of course also continue to make things as difficult as possible for China and others, but that is probably going to backfire if it is purely self-serving.
The US course is not about any "hegemonic nature of US presidential powers" (the Obama administration failed to convince Congress to agree to IMF voting reforms giving developing countries more say) but rather if all the powers that be within the US are willing to adapt to all the consequences of a changing world of their own making. It is a question of attitude, my-way-or-the-highway or rising-tide-lifts-all-boats?