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16 Mar 2023

LIN HTET MYAT, The Irrawaddy

Myanmar: Beijing looks to resume economic projects under major infrastructure initiatives

"Beijing Looks to Get Economic Projects Up and Running in Myanmar" 16 March 2023

The general consensus on the status of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) in Myanmar two years after the military coup is that the projects are resuming—albeit at various paces—especially after the junta’s then foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, was invited to China in April 2022. During his trip, China reaffirmed its commitment to help safeguard Myanmar’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity “no matter how the situation changes”. [...]

According to The Irrawaddy, there are three major Chinese infrastructure initiatives, although they are not limited to infrastructure alone, in Myanmar, which are LMC, CMEC & CMEC plus, and the New International Land Sea Trade Corridors. Projects planned and implemented under these three initiatives can be classified into three groups. The first one, LMC, consists mainly of small technical cooperation projects in sectors such as agriculture, culture, digital economy, science, education and public health. [...]

Transportation and power sector projects dominate the second initiative, CMEC & CMEC plus. The Kyaukphyu SEZ, border trade zones, hydro, solar and gas-fired power projects and cross-border interconnection projects fall into this category. CMEC plus means inviting other LMC countries to cooperate in implementation of the CMEC. [...]

The third category of New International Land-Sea Trade Corridors will pass through Myanmar connecting with Southeast Asian countries and give China access to the Indian Ocean. However, successful implementation of this corridor depends a lot on the planned Muse-Mandalay railway project. [...] These technical cooperation projects are in line with the Chinese government’s new “Small is Beautiful” approach to the BRI. [...]

The second-most-likely-to-be-implemented projects are in the power sector, although mega-dams such as Tasang and projects like the Mee Ling Gyaing LNG terminal are not likely to reach the implementation stage under current circumstances. [...]

The Chinese government, although it has decided to resume its CMEC and other projects in Myanmar, should give attention to proper risk assessments of mega infrastructure investments. [...]

Part of the following timelines

Myanmar: Kyaukphyu residents complain lack of transparency in CITIC-funded projects, company responded

Myanmar: China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group reportedly resumes construction of Muse-Kyaukphyu railway