The Irrawaddy

Myitsone Not on Agenda as Suu Kyi, Chinese FM Meet

Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, right, holds a press conference with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Naypyidaw on Tuesday. (Photo: Htet Naing Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

NAYPYIDAW — Those hoping for clarity on the fate of the Chinese-funded Myitsone dam were left disappointed on Tuesday, as the first meeting between Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and her Chinese counterpart did not address the controversy.

Suu Kyi told reporters at a press conference following the meeting that she didn’t discuss any controversial investments, including the mega-dam in Kachin State, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday.

“The Chinese foreign minister here today was just about congratulating the new Burmese government and trying to build greater friendship between the two countries. We didn’t discuss anything else in detail,” Suu Kyi told the media in Naypyidaw.

Asked when the NLD government would publicly disclose the contentious Myitsone dam contract between China and Burma, inked by the former military regime, Suu Kyi replied: “I haven’t read it yet, so it’s difficult to disclose to the public right now.”

Wang is in Burma on a two-day visit that will wrap up on Wednesday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei was quoted by Chinese media as saying Wang’s visit came at the invitation of Burma’s new minister of foreign affairs, Suu Kyi, who was sworn into her cabinet position last week. Wang became the first foreign minister received by Suu Kyi following her appointment.

The fate of Myitsone is likely to loom large over the bilateral relationship in the months to come. Suu Kyi has repeatedly said she could not take a position on whether or not it should go ahead as planned until she was made aware of the details of the contract.

Former President Thein Sein suspended the multi-billion dollar project in 2011 amid widespread public opposition to it. Among other unpopular provisions of the deal, some 90 percent of the hydropower generated by the dam was to be sent across the border to China.