Six BRI Projects in Myanmar to Monitor During Chinese President Xi’s Trip

By Nan Lwin 13 January 2020

YANGON—Chinese President Xi Jinping will land in Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar, on Friday looking to secure more agreements on key strategic projects under the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), a part of China’s ambitious infrastructure plan for the region.

Xi will be the first Chinese president to visit China’s southern neighbor in nearly two decades.

During his trip on Jan. 17-18, the two countries are expected to sign dozens of agreements, paving the way for the implementation of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a key strategic component of the CMEC, and border economic cooperation zones, road upgrade projects, promotion of trade relations, and social and economic development assistance.

The 1,700-kilometer-long CMEC will start in Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan Province, go through Myanmar’s major economic cities—Mandalay in central Myanmar and the commercial capital of Yangon—and reach the coast at the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Rakhine State.

Here, The Irrawaddy looks at six projects slated for implementation this year and which require careful monitoring due to ethnic conflicts, local disagreements, and social and environmental impacts—including the controversial Myitsone Dam project, on which a final decision could be made during Xi’s trip.