China’s plan to blast open more of the Mekong River for bigger cargo ships could founder on a remote outcrop of half-submerged rocks that Thai protesters have vowed to protect against Beijing’s economic expansion in Southeast Asia.
China and Burma have reached an agreement on an oil pipeline between the neighbouring countries after almost a decade of talks, with the project due to start “very quickly,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin says.
China has shifted its position in a lengthy dispute with Burma over the building of the $3.6 billion dam, signalling its willingness to abandon the project in exchange for other economic and strategic opportunities in Burma.
China’s military carried out drills along the border with Burma on Tuesday, in a show of force to highlight its resolve to protect its people, state news agency Xinhua said, following clashes between Burmese security forces and ethnic rebels.
Nearly a decade in the making, a project to pump oil across Burma to southwest China is set for imminent start-up, with a supertanker nearing the port of Kyaukphyu, marking the opening of a new oil trading route.
One of China’s biggest state-owned lenders has suspended an account used to fund ethnic rebels fighting government troops in Burma, halting an arrangement that could have stoked diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Naypyidaw.
Raging battles on Burma’s border with China have claimed dozens more lives, military and official sources said Wednesday, as the mounting death toll landed a fresh blow to the government’s faltering peace process.
China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday more than 20,000 people from Burma are seeking refuge in China from fighting in northern Shan State, as fighting threatens Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s top goal of reaching peace with minorities.
China on Tuesday called for an immediate ceasefire between ethnic rebels and Burmese security forces in the restive border area of Kokang, urging the two sides to resolve their differences through peaceful means instead.
At least 160 people have died in around three months of clashes between the military and ethnic armed groups in Burma’s northern Shan State, a senior army official said Tuesday, threatening peace talks set for next month.