Burma dam remains in Beijing sights

China | Nov 9, 2017
Beijing appears keen to press on with a long-stalled dam project in Burma even though that country's new energy minister has cast doubt over the scheme.

The Myitsone dam, which was to cost US$3.6 billion (HK$28 billion) in Burma's north, has been a sticking point between the nations since the previous military-run government halted work in 2011.

And planners in Burma have more recently been looking at scrapping the huge project entirely amid environmental concerns.

Big dams are not a priority in Burma's strategy to tackle chronic power shortages, Energy Minister Win Khaing said on Tuesday.

But in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said yesterday that China's position on the Myitsone dam has not changed.

"The Myitsone hydropower station is a commercial cooperation project both sides have already agreed upon and has already been through a complete approval process," Hua said. "We will continue to handle problems or difficulties that arise."

The dam, on the upper reaches of the Ayeyarwady river in Kachin state, would have sent most of its power across the border to Yunnan. But the province now has excess electricity amid an economic slowdown. A Burma panel was still reviewing the dam, Win Khaing said, and was in dialogue with prospective operator Yunnan International Power Investment.


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December 2018