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VP Xi: Resolve differences through talks

By Wang Yan and Zheng Yangpeng  (China Daily)

09:13, October 11, 2011

BEIJING - China and Myanmar on Monday agreed to properly settle matters related to a suspended $3.6 billion joint hydropower project in Myanmar, while Vice-President Xi Jinping called for resolving issues that have emerged during cooperation through friendly consultation.

The agreement was reached in Beijing during talks held between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin, who is visiting China as a special envoy of Myanmar President Thein Sein, according to Xinhua News Agency.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry after the talks, the two sides held thorough consultations over the Myitsone hydropower plant project, which was suspended by Thein Sein.

During his meeting with Wunna Maung Lwin on Monday, Xi said friendly consultation was the best way for the two sides to resolve issues that have emerged during the course of cooperation.

Xi said Wunna Maung Lwin's visit showed that Myanmar attaches great importance to China's concerns, and China is willing to listen to the neighboring country's explanation, according to China Radio International.

Wunna Maung Lwin said the Myanmar government highly values its friendly relations with China and has been paying close attention to China's concerns.

Wunna Maung Lwin is the first high-ranking official from Myanmar to visit China after Thein Sein suspended work on the Myitsone hydropower plant in the country's northern Kachin State on Sept 30.

The project began in December 2009. With an installed capacity of 6,000 megawatts, it is estimated to yield 29,400 million kilowatt-hours a year on completion, which had been slated for 2019.

In response to the halting of the project, the Foreign Ministry called for consultations, saying that the legitimate rights and interests of the companies involved should be protected.

Zhu Zhenming, a researcher with Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences who specializes in Myanmar studies, said that China's response was restrained, considering the suddenness of the suspension.

"This project was agreed by top leaders of both sides in 2006, and had been fully examined before construction began," Zhu said, "but there wasn't effective communication before the suspension was announced".

Lu Qizhou, president of China Power Investment, Myitsone's largest investor, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that he was "totally astonished" by the move.

Lu refuted claims by green NGOs that the dam poses a serious threat to the environment. He insisted that more than 100 experts from China and Myanmar had conducted environmental impact studies and found no cause for alarm.

In a commentary on Monday, People's Daily criticized the West's "rejoicing" over the issue, saying it is "naive and unilateral" to imply that China-Myanmar economic cooperation and bilateral relations have been strained due to differences over a specific project.

Zhu also objected to the opinion that the move is a sign of Myanmar reaching out to the West, saying that it is mainly due to domestic political concerns.

The Chinese side should learn from this issue and be prepared for potential risks when making foreign investments, Zhu added.

Following the envoy's visit, Myanmar Vice-President Tin Aung Myint Oo will visit China this month to discuss the suspension of the project, according to Reuters.

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Canada at 2011-10-1170.36.49.*
I saved the article below. I think it was published on Al Jazeera website.US blocks Chinese damPublished: 30 September, 2011, 23:04 The United States has extended its power of influence deep into Asia, as new WikiLeaks cables released reveal that the US embassy in Rangoon helped keep a dam planned by the Chinese from being built.The People’s Republic of China was considered one of the largest funders of a massive would-be hydroelectric project on the Irrawaddy river in Burma that could have had a major impact on the Chinese people. The project was halted, however, after activists in the Burmese region successfully campaigned to thwart the construction.The newest cables released reveal that the US helped fund those activists and played a major role in keeping the dam from being built.According to a cable dated January 2010, local activists had "voiced strong opposition to the project on economic, environmental and cultural grounds and have organized grassroots campaigns to rally others to their cause.” Those activists received support out of the US embassy to pursue their protests. "An unusual aspect of this case is the role grassroots organizations have played in opposing the dam, which speaks to the growing strength of civil society groups in Kachin state, including recipients of embassy small grants,” adds the diplomatic cable, which is signed-off on by US charge d"affaires, Larry Dinger. In the cable, Dinger acknowledges that while the project would also benefit the people of Burma, the US considered it a mainly Chinese project as the nation was responsible for a bulk of the funding.The Chinese have been quick to take on America’s international affairs as of late, recently blasting the Obama administrating for approving millions of dollars in upgrades to the Taiwanese air force. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said at the time that the deal “will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas.”
  

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