Regional


Since reports about the cancellation of a proposed US$20 billion railway line connecting China’s southern Yunnan province with Myanmar’s Rakhine western coast emerged in late July, conflicting accounts about the 1,200 kilometer project’s status have raised new questions about the neighboring countries’ commercial relations.
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The new Indian government has begun its tenure with a busy calendar of international travel. Most recently, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been in Naypyitaw, Myanmar for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), the East Asia Summit meeting of foreign ministers, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
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Officials from India and Myanmar discussed supplying electricity to Burma’s Sagaing region on August 4th in Tamu, a town on the Burmese side of the Indo-Burmese border.
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Myanmar President U Thein Sein told External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that the model could be effective for his country as it has a developing society.
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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Speaker of Myanmar’s Union Parliament and the House of Representatives (Lower House) U Shwe Mann in Nay Pyi Taw Monday.
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On July 29, an academic symposium “Myanmar in 2014: Re-integrating into the International Community” started in Kunming, Yunnan and was jointly organized by Center for Myanmar Studies of Yunnan University, Charhar Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences of HongKong University and the Department of International Relations of Yangon University. Prominent  scholars of Myanmar from Myanmar, mainland China, U.S., France and Hong Kong gathered together for exchanges and discussion. Joint Chair of the International Advisory Committee, Lv Fengding and Secretary General of the Charhar Institute, Ke Yinbin attended the opening ceremony.
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In recent years, Myanmar gradually implemented democratic policies and is expecting another presidential election in 2015. At the same time, Myanmar has normalized relations with many western countries. The outside world is keen on knowing whether these factors would affect the Sino-Myanmar bilateral relations. U Ye Htut, Myanmar Minister of Information and the President’s spokesman, is very familiar with China. During a special interview with Phoenix TV, he emphasized many times that the foundation of Sino-Myanmar friendship is very strong and won’t be affected. (more…)

A Chinese firm that signed deals with Myanmar’s former military rulers to build hydro dams said it could renegotiate the terms, which would see some projects supplying 90 percent of power to China, in order to allow more power for domestic consumption.
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As Myanmar gears up to host this weekend’s ASEAN Regional Forum, it may find that its role is both a blessing and a curse. While Myanmar welcomes its chance in the spotlight as ASEAN Chair, that role is increasingly difficult to play. Maritime disputes in the South China Sea threaten to turn each ASEAN meeting into a tug of war between anti- and pro-China forces.
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Imphal: India and Myanmar have decided to shape up the proposed joint-venture thermal power project in Myanmar’s Sagaing region, boosting the bilateral ties of the two neighboring countries.
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It is just after 8am on a sunny Saturday morning and the Muse border post is buzzing. The line of Burmese waiting for permits to cross under the towering faux pagoda and into China for work is already dozens deep. Guards in olive green uniforms check the paperwork of a woman pushing a cart stacked high with boxes in the other direction. A long-haired Burmese hipster in a leather jacket passes through unmolested on a shiny new red Honda with low-rider handlebars. Then a pretty young Chinese woman, upright on a pink electric scooter with a blue parasol, glides through straight on to the ragged verge, narrowly avoiding the oncoming trucks which, stacked high with boxes of Chinese-made TVs and washing machines, kick up swirls of dust as they buck down the thoroughfare.
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In eastern Myanmar, just a stone’s throw from the Chinese border, lies a den of drug smuggling, gambling, and vice.
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The underperforming US$1 billion gas pipeline through Burma into China was built by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to please political leaders in Beijing rather than for sound practical reasons, a report claims. (more…)

China imported 1.87 billion cubic metres of gas through the China-Myanmar gas pipeline in its first year of operation, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said on Monday, as the pipeline slowly ramps up to full capacity.
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The Modi government will step up its engagement with Myanmar in the coming month with the visit of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj for her first bilateral engagement with the leadership in Naypyidaw.
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According to a report by Eleven Group on the 20th, Myanmar Ministry of Railway Transportation formally released information that the Sino-Myanmar Kyaukpyu-Kunming Railway project has run aground. It  said that the MOU, signed in 2011, has expired, but “China did not continue the conversation and the Ministry of Railway Transportation does not have a plan to implement it.”  On July 21st, an authoritative figure who participated in the project verified to Global Times that “the push for a related project has been put on hold.”
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According to information released by the Myanmar Ministry of Railway Transportation, the Sino-Myanmar Kyaukpyu-Kunming Railway has run aground.
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Although China remains the biggest foreign investor in Myanmar, investments from other countries are quickly catching up in the Southeast Asian nation, which was once a pariah in the international community.
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More than 700 workers protested Thursday in front of the South Korean Embassy in Myanmar to demand officials help them after a Korean-owned factory closed without paying their wages.
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The Shan Human Rights Foundation, a community based human rights organisation, claims that since June 11th the Burma Army has been attacking civilians and is contravening its ceasefire agreement with the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N).
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