Protect interests of companies: China to Myanmar
Beijing: Annoyed over delays in the implementation of Chinese-funded projects in Myanmar after the reform process, China has asked Naypyidaw to "eliminate interference" to protect the legitimate interests of its companies.
"The two sides should adhere to the principle of equal treatment, eliminate interferences and properly handle problems," Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang told visiting Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin during their meeting here yesterday.
Li asked Lwin to ensure the smooth implementation of some major cooperation projects between the two neighbours and protect the legitimate interests of Chinese companies, state run China Daily reported.
Li's remarks came against the background of Myanmar President Thein Sein's abrupt decision to call off the construction of a USD 3.6 billion Chinese-led dam project in his country last August, citing environmental concerns as well as local people's opposition.
Chinese projects were running into problems after change of the Beijing backed military led government in Myanmar. Myanmar's military government proposed the dam in 2006 and signed a contract in 2009 with the Myanmar Asia World Company and China Power Investment Corp to build it.
Lwin, whose visit was the first by Myanmar official after the reform process was initiated, which included release from detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and permitting her party to contest elections, said his country attaches great importance to the ties with China.
Myanmar will "actively push forward cooperation on major projects and continue to support China on issues concerning China's key interests", Lwin said.
China view the drift of Myanmar more towards US, west and India with sense of disquiet as Beijing sank lot of money in high power energy and infrastructure projects.
Zhang Xuegang, an expert on Southeast Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Li's remarks should not be interpreted as being directed only at the dam project but also at pushing for Myanmar to build a healthy investment environment for Chinese enterprises.
China is currently the largest investor in Myanmar with about USD 13.95 billion as of April.
Among the large ongoing projects between the two is the 2,000-kilometer gas pipeline that runs through the heart of Myanmar and ends at Kunming in southwestern China's Yunnan province.