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10 Feb 2019

Myanmar Times,
Myanmar Times,
Myanmar Times

Myanmar: Protesters call for clarity on status of Myitsone dam project amidst reports of its resurrection

"Myitsone's potential resurrection," 08 February 2019

Construction of the US$3.6 billion dam, backed by Beijing's China Power Investments Corporation, known as State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), was suspended...in 2011. Since then, the public has no idea what...Daw Aung San Suu Kyi intends to do with the project, because Myitsone commission never released the final report...

But delay no longer seems like a viable option. On January 30, an opinion piece printed by China’s Global Times warned that Nay Pyi Taw’s decision on Myitsone will “determine Myanmar’s investment environment, the government’s credibility and the long-term development of northern Myanmar.”

This is the latest gesture from Beijing, which appears to be scaling up the pressure on resuming the project. Recently, Chinese Ambassador Hong Liang...lobbied local political parties and religious groups to support the project... The Chinese Embassy in Yangon doubled down by issuing a statement claiming that Myitsone has the support of the Kachin community, a declaration that was promptly rebuffed by Kachin ethnic and religious leaders. 

But the NLD government has not provided any clarity on the issue. The only intervention from a top official came from U Thaung Tun, the investment and foreign economic relations minister, who suggested alternatives such as downsizing or relocating the project.