China, Myanmar agree to resolve differences over stalled dam
The agreement on Myitsone Dam project came during talks between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who started a five-day official visit to China on Wednesday.
As 71-year-old Suu Kyi kicked off her official visit, the first after her government took over power following two decades of struggle against the Beijing backed military regime, she was accorded head of the government welcome by Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of People. Both Li and Suu Kyi inspected the guard of honour before settling for talks.
Explaining the high level protocol to Suu Kyi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang said “as
is known to all, State Counsellor is ranked second only to the President among all the posts in the state organs of Myanmar”.
Officials said it was symbolic in recognition of Suu Kyi status as highest ranking political leader of Myanmar even through her designation is the State Councillor and Foreign Minister.
Though her National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept the polls with massive majority, the Nobel Laureate could not take over as President due to constitutional constrains imposed by the previous military regime.
After extending a grand welcome, Li held talks with her during which the two sides agreed to find a
proper solution for the hydropower dam project which was stalled since 2011 over public protests.
China reportedly paid 60 per cent of the project. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters after the talks that, Myanmar’s new government has decided to set up an investigation committee to find a solution that is in both countries’ interests regarding the Myitsone Dam issue, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Opponents of the dam say the reservoir created by the Myitsone dam would create massive flooding on the Irrawaddy River, endangering ecologically sensitive areas and displacing thousands of people.