France, Germany and Italy are planning to join Britain in seeking membership in the Chinese-led development bank AIIB, a French official told AFP Tuesday, even though Washington is skeptical about the bank.
"The Finance Ministry confirms that France will join the AIIB," a spokesman said.
This is a "decision that is convergent with Germany and Italy," he added.
German and Italian authorities could not be reached for an immediate comment.
The $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been feted by Beijing as a way of financing regional development, and is seen as a potential rival to US-based institutions such as the World Bank.
Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have declined to become founding members -- but within a week, Europe's four biggest economies have signaled plans to join.
London on Thursday announced its ambitions to be the first Western country to join the bank, in a move to bolster relations with China.
China and 20 other countries signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Beijing-headquartered bank in October.
Responding to reports of European interest in the bank, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei would only say: "We welcome countries to join the AIIB as prospective founding members."
"The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral investment institution," the spokesman said, adding that "participation by countries outside the region will intensify the extensive representativeness of the AIIB."