Myanmar significantly scales down Chinese-backed port project

The Myanmar government is scaling down plans for a Chinese-backed port on its western coast in Kyaukpyu in a move to avoid running into debt from the project, a top government official and an adviser told Reuters.

The Kyaukpyu port is a key part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative, aimed at expanding trade links across the world. While Beijing says Belt and Road is mutually beneficial for itself and its partners, questions have been raised about countries taking on excessive debt to build projects. The initial price tag $7.3 billion for the deep water port set off alarm bells due to reports of troubled Chinese-backed projects in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the official and the adviser said.

Deputy finance minister Set Aung, who was appointed to lead project negotiations in May, told Reuters the “project size has been tremendously scaled down“. The revised cost would now be “around $1.3 billion, something that’s much more plausible for Myanmar’s use”, said Sean Turnell, economic adviser to Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

China’s state-run Citic Group, the main developer of the project, said negotiations were ongoing and that the $1.3 billion was to be spent on the “initial phase” of the port, adding the project was divided into four phases. It did not elaborate on plans for subsequent stages.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said that “according to what I understand, at present both sides are having commercial negotiations” on the Kyaukpyu project.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

The Myanmar government is scaling down plans for a Chinese-backed port on its western coast in Kyaukpyu in a move to avoid running into debt from the project, a top government official and an adviser told Reuters.

The Myanmar government is scaling down plans for a Chinese-backed port on its western coast in Kyaukpyu in a move to avoid running into debt from the project, a top government official and an adviser told Reuters.

The Kyaukpyu port is a key part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative, aimed at expanding trade links across the world. While Beijing says Belt and Road is mutually beneficial for itself and its partners, questions have been raised about countries taking on excessive debt to build projects. The initial price tag $7.3 billion for the deep water port set off alarm bells due to reports of troubled Chinese-backed projects in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the official and the adviser said.

Deputy finance minister Set Aung, who was appointed to lead project negotiations in May, told Reuters the “project size has been tremendously scaled down“. The revised cost would now be “around $1.3 billion, something that’s much more plausible for Myanmar’s use”, said Sean Turnell, economic adviser to Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

China’s state-run Citic Group, the main developer of the project, said negotiations were ongoing and that the $1.3 billion was to be spent on the “initial phase” of the port, adding the project was divided into four phases. It did not elaborate on plans for subsequent stages.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said that “according to what I understand, at present both sides are having commercial negotiations” on the Kyaukpyu project.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid