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China is more helpful to Myanmar

(People's Daily Online)

08:03, August 20, 2012

The Yunnan-Burma Road played an important role in the victory of China and other Asian countries against Japanese invasion over 70 years ago. A recent journey along the northern Myanmar section of the road left an impression that the local economy remains backward due to armed conflicts and it is China who can help alleviate poor living conditions of local residents.

Decades of conflicts hinder economic development

The reporter found in Shan state and Kachin state that certain villages, especially mountain villages, remain poor and most villagers live in huts with few household appliances. Although the region is rich in natural resources, decades of armed conflicts have severely hindered local economic development, leading to poor roads, lack of electricity and backward infrastructures. The Myanmar government is unable to invest heavily in its northern regions inhabited by ethnic minorities and slow economic development has inevitably disrupted the national unity.

Many local residents told the reporter that they hope the central government and ethnic militias can reach a peaceful agreement as soon as possible because foreign investors and tourists will not come to northern Myanmar and local economy will not develop healthily without a stable environment and the policy of opening up.

Burma Road, Myanmar’s busiest highway

The Burma Road has become an artery boosting the economic and personnel exchanges between northern Myanmar and southwest China.

There are many restaurants, hotels and water stations in the cities and towns along the Yunnan-Burma Road which mainly serve truck drivers. A driver said that Myanmar’s border town of Muse sits next to Ruili, China, and it is a logistics hub for Chinese goods in Myanmar. Trucks carrying Chinese goods are first transported to Muse, and then distributed to other places in the country. Chinese goods are always in short supply in Myanmar.

Chinese supplies and goods were crucial to the survival of Myanmar’s economy when the country suffered from Western economic sanctions and blockade. The Yunnan-Burma Road remains extremely important to Myanmar, though the country has re-opened its door to the outside world.

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