China is close to sign a deal with Myanmar to build an economic corridor, similar to a China-Pakistan economic corridor, The Global Times reported. Once the project is launched, a large amount of Chinese funds will reach Myanmar, which according to experts, can weaken India’s influence on its eastern neighboring country.
On Wednesday, U Aung Naing Oo, Director General of Investment and Company Administration, said that both the countries will soon sign a 15-point MoU on the construction of the economic corridor. He said that this step is being taken on the basis of major agreements between Myanmar and China to improve the state of infrastructure, communication facilities, transport and agriculture in Myanmar.
According to sources, the governments of both countries want to sign the agreement soon, but there are still some issues and challenges that both governments need to resolve. These include ethnic conflicts in many parts of Myanmar and anti-Chinese sentiments in one section of the Burmese citizens. Myanmar is also afraid that due to this project, it will be plunged into China’s debt. Myanmar has already cancelled a dam project that was being constructed with China’s economic assistance.
According to the plan, the economic corridor will link China’s Yunnan Province to three economic centers in Myanmar—Mandalay, Yangon New City and Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The corridor will help improve the transit between Myanmar’s Yangon and violence-struck states.
“The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor is obviously a win-win agreement for both countries. Myanmar’s economy is growing but it needs a new impulse to make it develop further, which B&R projects can provide,” Xu Liping, an expert on Southeast Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
In the Global Times, Chinese Expert Peng Nian wrote that the agreement on the economic corridor shows that the suspicion about Chinese investment is going away. He also wrote that Myanmar would also like to connect itself to this area through CMEC because the country is dissatisfied at the slow pace of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.