China clinches multi-billion-dollar strategic port deal with Myanmar

BEIJING, Nov 9: China has clinched a multi-billion-dollar deal to build a port at a strategic town along the coast of the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar, its third project in India’s neighbourhood after Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
China and Myanmar signed an agreement on Thursday to build the deep sea port project in Kyaukpyu town after negotiations dragged for years due to financing and other issues, state-run Global Times reported on Friday.
China is also developing deep water strategic Gwadar port in Pakistan in the Arabian Sea which faces the Mumbai coast.
It has also acquired Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on debt swap in the Indian Ocean.
China has persistently denied the String of Pearls theory of building strategic network of ports to encircle India.
The Chinese consortium led by state-owned conglomerate Citic Group signed the framework agreement with the Kyaukpyu Special Econo-mic Zone Management Committee on the development of the Kyaukpyu, deep-sea port, at a ceremony in the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw, the report said.
Under the framework agreement, China will fund 70 per cent of the investment for the project and Myanmar will pitch in the remaining 30 per cent.
The initial phase of the project will include two berths with a total investment of USD 1.3 billion, according to the agreement.
A joint venture will be set up to construct and operate the port.
The signing of the framework agreement marks a significant step for the port project, which has been stalled since 2015, and for the continued implementation of the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative (BRI), which has come under increased scrutiny because of the cases such as the Kyaukpyu port project, the report said. (PTI)