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Myanmar junta advances Rakhine seaport amid ongoing conflict

  • By: Web Master
  • | Date: 20 January 2024
  • | Viewer: 3.8k

Tribune Desk, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Myanmar junta officials convened in Naypyitaw on Wednesday to discuss plans for the construction of vital infrastructure related to a massive China-backed seaport in Kyaukphyu Township, Rakhine State. 


This meeting follows the recent signing of an addendum to the concession agreement for the deep seaport project, a crucial component of the 1,700-kilometer China-Myanmar Economic Corridor connecting Kunming in Yunnan province to the Indian Ocean, The Irrawaddy reported.


The seaport and special economic zone (SEZ) is a joint venture between China and Myanmar and the junta-backed Kyaukphyu SEZ Management Committee. 


A China-brokered ceasefire between the military regime and the Brotherhood Alliance, which includes the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and Ta’ang National Liberation Army, has stipulated the protection of Chinese investments and the safety of Chinese citizens in Myanmar.


Aung Naing Oo, the chairman of Myanmar Special Economic Zone Central Working Committee and a minister in the regime’s governing body, emphasized the need for closer coordination between ministries to ensure timely completion of tasks. 


He expressed optimism during a press briefing last month, envisioning the Kyaukphyu port and SEZ as a pivotal hub connecting markets across Asia, Africa, and Europe, fostering socio-economic development in Myanmar and the broader region.


The recent developments are unfolding against the backdrop of ongoing conflicts, with the Arakan Army engaging the regime forces in Rakhine State. 


Despite the regime’s imposition of a blockade and indiscriminate air and artillery strikes on civilians, the Arakan Army has made territorial gains, capturing Paletwa Township in Chin State and defeating junta battalions in northern Rakhine. 


The ongoing conflict in Ramree Township, bordering Kyaukphyu, poses challenges to the continuity of the ambitious seaport project, according to business analysts.


As Myanmar navigates through political complexities and military engagements, the fate of the China-backed Kyaukphyu seaport project remains uncertain, contingent on the delicate balance between military activities and economic aspirations.

Caption: Port facilities at a Chinese-owned oil refinery on Made Island off Rakhine State’s Kyaukphyu Township. Photo:Narinjara  News

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