New Chinese Ambassador promises to look for ‘Practical Cooperation’ with Myanmar on BRI Projects

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YANGON: China’s new ambassador to Myanmar vows to push for deeper “practical cooperation” on Beijing’s grand infrastructure projects in the country while working to advance bilateral relations.

After President U Win Myint accepted the credentials of Ambassador Chen Hai in Naypyitaw, the Chinese Embassy issued a statement on Wednesday regarding their discussion in the Credentials Hall at the Presidential Palace.

Acording to the statement, Chen said China and Myanmar presently uphold good relations but said he expects more opportunities to advance to make it more stronger.

The 20th Chinese ambassador to Myanmar vowed to advance mutual trust between the two countries and deepen “practical cooperation” on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), under which it plans to implement more than three dozen projects, including mega-infrastructure projects, in Myanmar.

According to the Myanmar government, China has proposed a total of 38 projects under the CMEC. However, Myanmar only approved nine early harvest projects at the second BRI forum in Beijing in April. So far Myanmar has only publicized three projects; the construction of three economic cooperation zones in Kachin and Shan states; the Kyaukphyu SEZ; and the Muse-Mandalay railway project.

Myanmar will actively push to complete the CMEC, the statement cited him as saying.

Under the CMEC MOU, Myanmar agrees to cooperate with China on industry, transportation, energy, agriculture, the “digital silk road”, finance, tourism, environmental protection, people-to-people exchanges, science and technology, personnel training, water resources and flood prevention and control.

Myanmar also signed a separate framework agreement in November for China’s ambitious Kyaukphyu SEZ, a key strategic project under the BRI that is expected to boost development in China’s landlocked Yunnan province and provide China with direct access to the Indian Ocean, allowing its oil imports to bypass the Strait of Malacca.