Mon 3 Dec 2012
Filed under: Business / Trade,News,Regional
China remains committed to its investments in Burma, and in particular would like to see the Monywa copper mine project continue in “a spirit of mutual cooperation,” a Chinese embassy spokesperson told Mizzima.Embassy spokesman Gao Mingbo conceded that the matter of compensation to villagers displaced by the copper mine project was “a complicated issue,” but insisted that China ensures that its companies employ “the highest standards possible” when dealing with the Burmese public’s concerns.
Earlier, the Chinese embassy had issued a statement saying that “Monywa Cooper Mine Project is a joint venture between business communities of China and Myanmar that will bring benefits to both sides.
“Issues such as relocation, compensation, environmental protection and profit sharing regarding this project were jointly settled through negotiations by the two sides and meet Myanmar’s laws and regulations,” it continued.
“We hope all levels of Myanmar society can create a favorable environment for the project’s smooth operation based on respect for laws and regulations of Myanmar,” it concluded.
The statement was issued in the wake of a crackdown on Thursday by riot police on protesters at the Monywa site. A Burmese government-appointed committee, to be head by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, will soon be formed to investigate the issues surrounding the copper mine project, in which China’s Wanbao Company is a major stakeholder, and the violence surrounding the protests.
Mizzima reported on November 23 that there were indications that China was growing wary of the rising rural demonstrations over land confiscation.
The Chinese Ambassador to Burma said Beijing would stop backing the Monywa copper mine if the project did not benefit Burma, according to a Radio Free Asia report in October.
“If this project brings no benefit to the Myanmar [Burmese] people, the Chinese government will not support or endorse it,” Ambassador Li Junhua said at a press conference, according to a press release posted on the Facebook page of the Chinese Embassy in Burma. “Because it not only concerns the image of the Chinese company, but also the image of China and the Chinese government,” he said.