Beijing signaled it will push Burma’s new government to resume a controversial stalled dam project in the country, saying the contract is still valid.
Outgoing Burmese President Thein Sein angered Beijing in 2011 by suspending the US$3.6 billion (HK$28.08 billion), Chinese-invested Myitsone dam project, 90 percent of whose power would have gone to China.
Other Chinese projects in Burma have proved controversial too, including the Letpadaung copper mine, against which residents have repeatedly protested, and twin Chinese oil and gas pipelines across the country.
Speaking ahead of a summit next week in China between Premier Li Keqiang and leaders of five Southeast Asian countries, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said the Myitsone dam is a “important cooperation project.”
“Very regretfully it was shelved by the Burmese government in 2011. But the contract is still in force,” Liu said.
“How to push this cooperation forward is an important thing for both countries.”
He said he did not yet know who would be representing Burma at the summit in Hainan.
Burma’s parliament elected Htin Kyawa, a confidant of Aung San Suu Kyi, as president on Tuesday.
New Myanmar rulers face dam shove