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Part of BRI’: Chinese developer contradicts Beijing’s stand on ‘new city’ project on Myanmar-Thailand border


Updated Sep 02, 2020 | 16:38 IST

Locals have criticised the Chinese project citing lack of transparency over the scale of construction and the increasing influx of Chinese migrants.

Myanmar Police. | Representative Image
Photo Credit: AP
Myanmar Police. | Representative Image

Key Highlights

  • The project in Myanmar’s Karen is locally known as ‘Shwe Kokko New City’ after the village where it is situated
  • It was launched in 2017 by the Yatai International Holdings Group in a deal with the ethnic Karen armed group – the Border Guard Force
  • The company also has alleged links to illegal cryptocurrency and casino operations, locals claim

Yangon: China is yet again in another soup after one of its real estate developers and the country’s establishment have given contradictory statements on a project that’s coming up on the Myanmar-Thailand border under Beijing’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The developer of a ‘new city’ project on the border has claimed that the development is part of BRI despite the Chinese Embassy in Yangon denying it in an official statement.


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The project in Myanmar’s Karen is locally known as ‘Shwe Kokko New City’ after the village where it is situated. It was launched in 2017 by the Yatai International Holdings Group (YIHG) in a deal with the ethnic Karen armed group – the Border Guard Force (BGF), according to the publication The Irrawaddy.

Locals have criticised the Chinese project citing lack of transparency over the scale of construction and the increasing influx of Chinese migrants. Furthermore, the company also has alleged links to illegal cryptocurrency and casino operations.

“Recently, some media reported on the Shwe Kokko New City project in Myawaddy, Karen State, Myanmar, claiming that the project involved gambling and other issues, which cast a negative impact on the local society. The Shwe Kokko New City project is a third-country investment and has nothing to do with the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese and Myanmar governments have reached a clear consensus on this. The Myanmar side has already stated its position to the public,” the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar said in its statement on August 25.

However, the developer asserted that the $15 billion project was part of BRI, which also includes several other projects in Myanmar.

Interestingly, the YIHG said in a bizarre statement on its WeChat account, “This project is not the act of the Chinese government, but is still in service of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

“China’s position on cross-border gambling is consistent and clear, that is, Chinese capital is not allowed to invest in foreign casinos, Chinese citizens are not allowed to participate in foreign casino operation, and foreign casinos are not allowed to attract Chinese citizens to gamble. The Myanmar government has established a task force to investigate and deal with the issue of Shwe Kokko New City project in accordance with laws and regulations. China has expressed its support to this,” the Embassy statement further said.


https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/belt-and-road-initiative-chinese-developer-contradicts-beijing-stand-on-shwe-kokko-new-city-project-on-myanmar-thailand-border/646618

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