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27 Feb 2023


Myanmar: China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group reportedly resumes work on Muse-Kyaukphyu railway

"China and Myanmar resume work on Muse-Kyaukphyu railway" 27 February 2023

A Chinese state-owned company and the military regime are quietly pushing forward with a railway line that would run through active conflict zones, after lengthy delays due to Myanmar’s wariness, COVID-19 and then the coup.

A Chinese state company has resumed preliminary work in Myanmar on a railway from China to the Rakhine State coast, two senior Myanma Railways officials have told Frontier.

The railway is to be a key component of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, linking Kunming in China’s landlocked Yunnan province with a planned special economic zone and deep-sea port in Rakhine’s Kyaukphyu Township. It is being developed by China Eryuan Engineering Group, a subsidiary of state-owned China Railway Engineering Group, in partnership with Myanma Railways, a division of Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The mega project passes through areas of Shan State and Rakhine where ethnic armed organisations fight regularly with the Myanmar military – and with each other – as well as crossing parts of Myanmar’s central dry zone where armed resistance has raged since the 2021 military coup. Resistance groups say they will attack the project to deny revenue and other benefits to the regime. [...]

The Chinese company has yet to publicly comment on any developments. However, a channel run by Chinese engineering students on Chinese social media platform WeChat published a post in September last year quoting Mr Xu Chaoshuai, a deputy director at CREEG, as saying he was in Myanmar “participating in the preliminary work on the Mandalay-Kyaukphyu section of the China-Myanmar Railway”. An accompanying photo appears to show Chinese company representatives attending a meeting in a Myanma Railways office but the caption provides no further details. [...]