Myanmar keen not to lose Kyaukpyu Port to China

Kyaukphyu port. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 13, 2018, 08.01 AM (IST)

The Government of Myanmar is reported to be re-evaluating a Chinese investment project to develop the deep-water port of Kyaukpyu because of rising costs. the Kyaukpyu Port project is a part of China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. Beijing has invested an estimated USD 9 billion in the project.

A concerned Myanmar is anticipating a potential debt default, which could lead to losing control of Kyaukpyu.

The Sinchew is quoting unnamed Myanmar government sources, as saying that negotiations are going on with the Chinese to reduce the cost of the project.

China has been pushing for preferential access to the deep sea port of Kyaukpyu on the Bay of Bengal, an entry point for a Chinese oil and gas pipeline that gives it an alternative route for energy imports from the Middle East that avoids the Malacca Strait, a shipping chokepoint.

Kyaukpyu is located in west Myanmar's Rakhine Province. That port offers China a direct path to the Indian Ocean from Southwest China, bypassing the Strait of Malacca.

Reuters last May reported that state-owned CITIC had proposed taking a 70-85 per cent stake in the Kyaukpyu port, a part of China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure investment plan to deepen its links with economies throughout Asia and beyond.

A total of 52 Myanmar companies will contribute to half of Myanmar’s stake in the Kyauk Pyu port, according to San Myint, general manager of the local consortium Myanmar Kyaukpyu Special Holding Company.