China denies abandoning Yunnan-Burma rail line

Mr. Yang Houlan, the Chinese ambassador to Burma

China's ambassador to Burma Yang Houlan has denied a recent news report indicating that a planned train line running from Yunnan to Burma's Rakhine (Arakan) coast had been cancelled. According to China's state owned Xinhua news agency when Ambassador Yang was asked about the project during a press conference in Yangon on Thursday “Yang denied the abandonment of the project by the Chinese side”.

According to Xinhua a Burmese economic official who did not wish to identify himself confirmed to Xinhua that the Kyaukpyu-Kunming rail project was not cancelled, "I understand that it needs time to continue coordination," the anonymous official told Xinhua.

On July 22nd the English language service of Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) ran an article titled “Chinese railway project in Myanmar cancelled, official says”. The article quoted an unnamed “senior official” who appears to have been from Burma's government who said that the project was not going ahead.

"No progress within three years after signing the MoU between us, so the project was to be cancelled," DPA quoted the official as saying. "Also, China made no request to sign another contract," he added.

"This is because we care about the people's desires. Most people view the project as having more disadvantages than advantages," DPA quoted the official as saying.

According to DPA both Burma and China have failed to move forward with the 1,215-kilometre long rail line in the three years since an MOU for the project was signed between the two governments in April 2011. The rail line which is supposed to run from Yunnan to the coastal port of Kyaukpyu, was excepted to follow a similar route to that of the twin oil and gas pipelines which were also recently built by a Chinese state owned firm.


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