YANGON, April 28 Myanmar and China have agreed
to build a rail link connecting Southwest China with the Indian
Ocean, officials and local media said on Thursday.
The railroad will be built in five stages over the next
three years and will stretch for total of 1,215 kilometres (755
miles), from the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port in Myanmar's Western
Rakhine State to China's Yunnan province, a senior official from
the Ministry of Rail Transport told Reuters.
"The entire project also includes construction of a highway
running parallel to the railroad," said the official, who
The road and rail will run parallel with two giant pipelines
currently under construction that will carry 12 million metric
tons of crude oil and 12 billion cubic meters of annually into
China within the next two years.
The railway is part of a wide-ranging network to connect
southwest China with its Asian neighbours through a system of
railways, roads, power grids, telecommunication networks, oil
and gas pipelines and ports.
China is Myanmar's biggest political ally and is set to
become its biggest investor through a series of energy and
infrastructure projects currently underway of planned for the
next few years.
China enjoys close trade and economic ties with Myanmar,
with little competition for contracts as a result of
wide-ranging Western sanctions on the country's new government,
which critics say is a front for the old military regime.
Trade across the porous Yunnan-Myanmar border has flourished
in recent years, but the rail link is just one part of an
ambitious scheme that will put the provincial capital of Kunming
at the centre of a regional free trade zone.
(Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by