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Myanmar-China push for BRI with 33 deals, no new major projects signed

A large number of these deals relate to the implementation of the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by China.

The two countries signed a concession agreement and shareholders’ agreement for the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) deep seaport project. The port will link the land locked Yunnan province of China directly to the Indian Ocean allowing China to bypass the strait of Malacca through which it imports a sizeable amount of oil and gas.

Myanmar and China also signed 13 more agreements to strengthen collaboration in the infrastructure sector including roads, rail connectivity and power interconnection projects.

The two sides did not address a controversial $3.6 billion Beijing-backed Myitsone dam, where work has been stalled since 2011 due to local protests and cost considerations.

President Xi also met leaders from ethnic areas of Myanmar where civil conflict is going on and China supported infrastructure projects are underway.

The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping was also marked by the fact that no major new major projects were agreed upon between the two countries.

Analysts point out that Myanmar remains skeptical and cautious of Chinese investments specially ahead of elections later this year.

Xi Jinping left for China in the afternoon.

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