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China-Burma pipeline ‘holds no benefits for Burma’

Mar 30, 2009 (DVB), A leading campaigner has claimed that the deal signed last week for the construction of a gas pipeline between China and Burma will lead to land confiscation and will hold no benefit for Burma.

Under the deal, signed on 26 March, 2000 kilometers of pipeline will run from Arakan state in western Burma to Yunnan and Guizhou province in southwestern China.

But the spokesperson of the Shwe Gas Movement, which campaigns against the Burmese government's sale of natural gas to foreign countries, said the deal will impact negatively on Burma.

"The energy resources are not used for Burma but sold to a foreign country," said Ko Kin.

According to Ko Kin the pipeline will pass east to west through the middle of Burma, from Rakhine state, through Magwe and Manadalay divisions in central Burma to the tip of Shan state.

"Farmlands on the way will be confiscated," he said. "More troops will be stationed for the pipeline's security."

Chinese state media has reported that Yunnan province is to start construction of the pipelines as part of its 72 billion yuan (US$15.9 billion) worth of energy projects this year.

Gas from Arakan coast was initially intended to be sold to India, but China in 2007 vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for Burma to end aggression against its citizens and restore democracy, and secured the deal.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min