Myanmar authorities want to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to make the country an important hub connecting Southeast Asia and South Asia. Some US$ 10 billion are earmarked for conflict-torn Rakhine.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Myanmar is looking at ways to complement schemes like China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) in order to develop its infrastructure.
Construction Minister U Win Khaing yesterday told the ASEAN and Asia Forum in Singapore that his country needed to improve its infrastructure quickly to cope with the mass internal migration to its cities.
The government said that it was in contact with various potential partners, including China and Japan, in order to promote Myanmar as a hub to connect Southeast Asia and South Asia, the minister said.
The BRI blueprint is China’s ambitious push to revive trade along ancient routes through Asia to Africa and Europe.
Beijing has pledged massive investment in Myanmar, including commitments to build roads, railways, ports, and oil pipelines.
About US$ 10 billion in Chinese investment has been earmarked for a deep seaport, a trading estate and a special economic zone in Kyaukphyu in Rakhine, as well as other infrastructure projects in the remote western state affected by a major humanitarian crisis.
In 2013, China and Myanmar agreed to a joint venture in a 17 sq. km area for an industrial and infrastructure base serving the two countries.
Private firms are also involved in the plan. A China-led consortium is behind a US$ 7.3 billion deep-water port development and a US$ 2.45 billion oil and gas pipeline.
Earlier this year, work on the Chinese-financed US$ 3.6 billion Myitsone Dam was suspended amid protests over environmental concerns. It would have become the first dam to cross the Irrawaddy River, the mythic cradle of the Burmese civilisation.
A memorandum of understanding for the construction of a 1,200MW hydroelectric plant at about 80km from Kathmandu was signed in June, less than a month after Nepal formally agreed to take part in the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s new Silk Road.
Pakistan is the second country in a few days to cancel a deal with China. Beijing wants sovereign guarantees, but refuses public tenders. Concerns are raised about the quality of Chinese equipment. The use of Chinese workers displaces locals, causing a significant political fallout.
The rate of road accidents caused by senior citizens is growing steadily. The new Road Traffic Laws will take effect from March 2017 to try to contain the increase in accidents.
Corruption is not just the result of a money exchange; it also comes from a lack of transparency when agreements are implemented. One cannot expect a new Gospel from a government that promotes repression and abuse. An exiled Chinese scholar looks at the issue. Courtesy of ChinaChange.
Xi Jinping makes "a show of strength" at an economic and military level, but many doubt that China can sustain such a financial burden. For many countries, major projects in Central Asia, South Asia, and the South and East China Sea hide very dangerous ghostly dreams. Europe is distrustful. Only Italy is participating in the "One belt, One road" meeting in Beijing this weekend. The analysis of scholar Willy Lam. Courtesy of The Jamestown Foundation.