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China Opens Rail Line With Access to Indian Ocean via Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy Mon, August 30, 2021

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The rail line opening ceremony on the Chinese side of the border on Aug. 25. / Chinese Embassy in Myanmar

A new rail line providing China with access to the Indian Ocean via Myanmar was opened on Aug. 25 on the Chinese side of the border.

The rail line stretches from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, to Lincang, a prefecture-level city in China’s Yunnan Province opposite Chin Shwe Haw, a border trade town in Myanmar’s northeastern Shan State.

Myanmar companies reportedly exhibited jade and gems, marine products, furniture and agricultural products.

China has also been working to develop a deep seaport in Kyaukphyu Township in Rakhine. The Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone and Deep Seaport Project, which is part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, is expected to allow Chinese trade to bypass the congested Strait of Malacca near Singapore while boosting development in landlocked Yunnan Province.

China’s efforts to build a rail line linking Shan State’s border town Muse with Mandalay as part of the direct rail link with Yunnan and Kyaukphyu have been delayed by fighting between Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups. The proposed rail line goes through areas controlled by ethnic armed groups and escalating clashes after the February coup are hampering the project.

Lincang is adjacent to Kokang Self-Administered Zone in northern Shan State and is just 150 kilometers from Lashio, the largest town in northern Shan State.

SOURCE – The Irrawaddy, Myanmar Mon, August 30, 2021

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