Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi has put pressure on the Myanmar government to speed up work on the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone in Rakhine State, according to the state-owned Myanma Alin newspaper.
The visiting Chinese delegation demanded the project be finished as soon as possible at a meeting with President Thein Sein on at the Presidential Palace on Monday. Yang told the President that he hoped the Kyaukphyu Industrial Zone Project would be finished soon and that China would contribute in developing the southwestern Myanmar region.
The Chinese State Council is the most powerful council in China, formed with the Chinese President and a group of ministerial-level members.
Kyaukphyu locals have put forward a declaration that highlights their opposition to the industrial zone. The locals also emphasize the need to develop the region before the project begins.
Yang put forward Chinese demands after the locals announced their declaration.
The Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone is to be linked with the Shwe gas pipeline project which will pump oil and gas to China. A 120-square kilometer deep-sea port will also be constructed.
“The construction plans which will start in 2014 [are] being drawn up by Japan and we [expect] to have finished the first step by 2016,” the Japan Development Institute said in a statement.
On the one hand there is pressure from China, but on the other hand farmers are asking for compensation for their lands that have been seized or destroyed by the construction of the oil and gas pipeline.
The construction of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone is also related to the Kyaukphyu – Shweli (Ruili) Highway project.