Sun, 29 Jan 2023

Naypyidaw [Myanmar], January 19 (ANI): The development of Kyaukphyu Port and Special Economic Zone (KPSEZ), Myanmar's first deep-sea port in Rakhine state, is bound to face resistance, Mizzima reported, adding that activists have claimed that the deep sea port is expected to disrupt the livelihoods of local fishermen as fish stocks have been seriously depleted.

Myanmar Survey Research (MSR) has been carrying out environmental and social impact assessments for the USD 1.3 billion Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ), as per the news report.

The assessment is scheduled to be completed in July 2023 after which the construction will begin. The deep sea-port project will be implemented in three phases and is estimated to cost USD 7 billion, it reported,Earlier on October 27, activists organised a campaign against the project in the Thanzit River near Maday Island, where the deep sea port is set to be built, the report said, adding that the activists called for respecting local fishermen and demanded the halt of the development of the deep-sea port project as it was started without the consensus of local residents and has not addressed the grievances of local fishermen and residents.

In 2018, China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Myanmar to establish the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC). Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Myanmar in 2020 said that 33 projects were identified to operationalize CMEC. The projects included the development of Kyaukphyu Port and the Special Economic Zone (KPSEZ), according to Mizzima report.

Kyaukphyu Port and Special Economic Zone (KPSEZ) will be developed by the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone Deep Seaport Co. Ltd, a joint venture between the Chinese consortium CITIC Myanmar Port Investment Limited and the KPSEZ management committee, according to Mizzima. Even after political strife in Myanmar after a military coup in February 2021, China continues to fill an immense economic gap left as many western benefactors fled, the report said.

China considers the Kyaukphyu Port and Special Economic Zone and the deep sea port as especially important to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as it will give permit Chinese trade to bypass the Strait of Malacca near Singapore while strengthening the development in landlocked Yunnan Province, which borders Myanmar, it reported, adding that China sees the project as an opportunity to enhance its sea power in Myanmar.

An oil and gas pipeline project that was supported by China and implemented on Maday Island has not been beneficial good for local fishermen, Mizzima reported citing the spokesman for the Centre for Peace and Development. Centre for Peace and Development is a civil society organization monitoring the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project, to which the deep sea port is closely tied, the news report stated further.

As per the Mizzima report, the government had not paid attention to fishermen's demands in 2017 due to which fishermen lost 50 percent of their fisheries. The asymmetric ties between China and Myanmar is expected to generate a range of political risks for stakeholders. The Kyaukphyu deep sea-port project and related Special Economic Zone located in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state is being probed as a case study of risks on the Belt and Road. (ANI)

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