Tue, 16 Aug 2022

Yangon [Myanmar], July 6 (ANI): China and Myanmar agreed to accelerate infrastructure projects linked to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the sidelines of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met separately on Sunday with Wunna Maung Lwin, Myanmar's foreign minister. The two sides agreed to accelerate work on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor -- infrastructure projects linked to Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative -- and to proceed with connecting their respective power grids, reported Nikkei Asia.

However, the conflict between the military, and armed resistance poses a hurdle to Chinese investment plans and is keeping China from launching any big projects. Sunday's bilateral meeting included little mention of large-scale infrastructure.

Talks continue, but Beijing is wary as the security environment worsens and sentiment towards China sours, said Nan Lwin at the Institute for Strategy and Policy in Myanmar.

The Letpadaung copper mine in Myanmar's Sagaing region, operated by a subsidiary of China's Wanbao Mining, has seen repeated attacks by armed resistance groups against Myanmar government forces providing security at the site, reported Nikkei Asia.

Wanbao issued a statement last month condemning the attacks, saying they threaten the safety of employees.

China led the formation of the Lancang-Mekong framework in 2015 to discuss cooperation in infrastructure and other areas. It is named after Southeast Asia's longest river, the Chinese portion of which is called the Lancang.

Foreign ministers from China and five Mekong Delta countries discussed economic cooperation Monday in the Myanmar tourist destination of Bagan, in the first multinational ministerial meeting held in the country since last year's military takeover.

The meeting under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework was attended by Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who also serves as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' special envoy to Naypyitaw. His counterparts from Thailand, Laos and Vietnam participated as well.

Naypyitaw plans to build a railway from Shan State, on the border with China, to Mandalay, Myanmar's second-largest city. Military authorities last month began soliciting public comment on the environmental impact of the project, which is estimated to cost USD 8.9 billion, reported Nikkei Asia. (ANI)

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