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China Tests New Trade Route With Myanmar in Show of Support for Junta

By The Irrawaddy September 6, 2021


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

China held a test run of a new overland trade route with Myanmar last month in a show of support for its neighbor, which has been hit with Western sanctions after a coup this year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Around 60 containers were sent in the first trial of the China-Myanmar corridor last month. The cargo traveled by road from Yangon, entering China at the border crossing between Shan State’s Chin Shwe Haw and Lincang in Yunnan Province, before continuing by rail to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, the newspaper said.

The test comes after the first visit to Myanmar by a Chinese high-level official—Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang—since the military junta seized power in February, the paper said. The junta has not released any statement on the visit, but the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the trip, saying the envoy met with junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the envoy exchanged views with Myanmar leaders on the political landscape in the country, and China-Myanmar cooperation in combating COVID-19.

The new route could help boost trade with Myanmar and link China with the Indian Ocean, the report said. China is keen to increase its influence in Southeast Asia through its Belt and Road Initiative, and has invested heavily in transportation infrastructure in the region.

The Irrawaddy September 6, 2021

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