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Myanmar Leader Arrives in China for Historic State Visit

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BurmeseNews

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A mothballed hydroelectric dam project funded by China is expected to dominate Thursday's talks between de-facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing.
 
Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to the Chinese capital is her first major diplomatic mission since her National League for Democracy party won a historic landslide election last year that finally brought an end to five decades of tight-fisted military rule. The Nobel Peace laureate is barred from serving as president under a military-drafted constitution, but holds several key posts, including state counselor and foreign minister.
 
China is eager to restart work on the $3.6 billion Myitsone project in northern Myanmar along the Irrawaddy River. Ninety percent of the power it creates would go to China. But the project was suspended in 2011 under a quasi-civilian government headed by former President Thein Sein, due to vocal opposition. The dam's opponents cite environmental concerns and a lack of electricity in Myamnar as reasons to halt the work.
 
A Myanmar government commission has been formed to review the Myitsone and several other proposed hydroelectric projects.
 


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China's Xi says wants to ensure 'correct direction' of Myanmar ties

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday China wants to ensure relations develop in the "correct direction", as Myanmar activists wrote to Xi saying they want China to address concern about a stalled dam project.

 
China has been on a diplomatic offensive since Suu Kyi's government came to power in April, aiming to forge good ties with its resource-rich neighbor.
 
"The people in Myanmar stand at a new starting point for a splendid future of the country," Xi told Suu Kyi.
 
"We should adhere to the correct direction, to push for new progress in bilateral relations and to bring tangible benefits to the two peoples."
 
He made no mention of the Chinese-invested $3.6 billion Myitsone dam project in comments in front of reporters.
 
Former Myanmar President Thein Sein angered China in 2011 when he suspended work on the hydro-power dam, at the confluence of two northern rivers in the Ayeyarwady river basin, after it drew widespread protests on environmental grounds.
 
China has been pushing for work to restart on the dam, which under the original plans would have sent 90 percent of its power to China.
 






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