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China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone Location Speculated

Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Bejing, told the Chinese state-run Global Times that the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone was likely to be established at the border between Yunnan province and Kachin State.

On May 17, the Communist Party-run newspaper quoted the researcher as saying the likely location would link the port at Huoqiao in western Yunnan’s Tengchong County in Southwestern China to Kan Pike Tee port in Kachin State, about 70 kilometres east of the state’s capital, Myitkyina.

Tengchong is a county-level city of Baoshan City, which is a metropolitan area in western Yunnan province.

He added that the area was at a lower altitude and the landscape was mostly flat.

Another academic, Zhao Jianglin from the Beijing-based National Institute of Global Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the zone also served a purpose apart from boosting economy – to maintain peace and stability along the border.

“The zone is of great importance for maintaining peace and stability in the border region as it can boost employment and improve local people’s income, while also helping strengthen trade contacts,” Zhao Jianglin said.

The Myanmar Times contacted the Ministry of Commerce to confirm the speculation.

U Than Myint, Union Minister for the Ministry of Commerce, said the ministry was unable to provide details about the possible location or area of the zone as the joint committee had not been established yet.

The minister told The Myanmar Times that the speculation quoted in the Global Times might indicate the area on which China would like to establish the zone. But the Myanmar side has not received any proposal.

He added that there are many areas which could potentially be part of the zone, stretching from the border in Kachin State to northern Shan State. It would depend on the eligibility of the location.

“In fact, there are many sub-regions along the border on the Chinese side which would like to join the zone in order to bolster regional trade activities,” the minister said.

According to U Than Myint, the ministry will start negotiations with their Chinese counterpart very soon and form a working group to work out the details. Only after those dialogues would the ministry have a better sense of understanding on what China’s priorities are.

Myanmar and China recently signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including one between the ministries of commerce on the establishment of China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone. The signing of the MoUs took place when State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited China to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in mid May.

The ministry of commerce said that a joint-committee for the establishment of zone would be formed within a year and the zone would boost border trade between the two countries.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

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