Kyaukphyu-Kunming railway not dead yet: Chinese envoy

Beijing intends to push ahead with plans to build a railway linking western Myanmar with China, but will do so only with the support of the Myanmar government and people, according to China’s envoy to Myanmar, as reported by The Irrawaddy.

The stalled railway and road project linking Kyaukphyu in Arakan State to Kunming, the capital of southern China’s Yunnan Province, was envisioned as a major transportation link to facilitate development at an economic zone in Myanmar’s impoverished west.

It was reported earlier last week that the plan was being scrapped, but China’s envoy to Myanmar said on Thursday that opposition to the project had been overstated.

China’s state-owned Railways Engineering Corporation and Chinese government officials have met local people along the project area, but tallied no significant resistance to the project as Myanmar government has claimed, according to Yang Houlan, the Chinese ambassador.

“The Kyaukphyu-Kunming railway project is important not only for the development of areas along the railway but also for the growth of the whole country,” stressed the Chinese ambassador during a press conference at his residence on Thursday.

In 2011, Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China’s state-owned Railways Engineering Corporation to construct the Kyaukphyu-Kunming railway. However, a Railway Transport Ministry official said last week that with no construction yet carried out, the MoU has lapsed and the project would not be continued.