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China and Myanmar

  • Category
    Miscellaneous
  • Published
    28th Jan, 2020

Myanmar and China on Saturday signed 33 bilateral agreements that will bind the south-east Asian country closer to its giant neighbour, including rail and deep-sea port projects along an economic corridor linking China’s south-western interior to the Indian Ocean.

Context

  • Myanmar and China on Saturday signed 33 bilateral agreements that will bind the south-east Asian country closer to its giant neighbour, including rail and deep-sea port projects along an economic corridor linking China’s south-western interior to the Indian Ocean.
  • The accords include those to construct a rail link and a deep-sea port – part of a China-Myanmar-Economic Corridor – that runs from China’s south-western region to the Bay of Bengal.
  • This will give a significant push to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to which Myanmar had signed onto in 2018 amid lack of investments from western countries.
  • China is also Myanmar’s biggest trading partner and one of its largest sources of inward investment.
  • A Myanmar military campaign in 2017-18 caused some 730,000 Rohingyas from Rakhine state to flee to Bangladesh.
  • Through the construction of the Kyaukpyu port, China will be making its presence felt on India’s eastern flank.
  • The Kyaukphyu port would give China direct access to the Indian Ocean, allowing it to bypass the Strait of Malacca.
  • Around 80 percent of China's oil imports pass through the narrow strait between Malaysia and Indonesia, leaving it vulnerable to blockades or unrest over the disputed South China Sea.
  • The port, coupled with a planned railway from Kyaukphyu to China's Yunnan province would not only bypass the strait but also be more direct.
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