CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Suu Kyi’s Historic China Visit Overshadowed by Controversial Dam Project

Suu Kyi’s Visit to China.

(Photo : Getty Images. ) Myanmar's Ang San Suu Kyi’s is on her first official visit to China.

Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's first official visit to China has been dominated by talks over a controversial dam project in Northern Myanmar that has been stalled for over five years.

The work over $3.6 billion Myitsone dam project, funded completely by Beijing, was suspended by Myanmar's former President Thein Sein. The project drew widespread criticism and protest due to its adverse impact on the environment.

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The decision angered China, which would have benefitted from around 90 percent of the power generated by the hydroelectric dam. Suu Kyi, who at that time was under house arrest, had completely backed the decision to suspend the project. However, reports now suggest that Myanmar leader is under pressure from China to restart the controversial project as early as possible.                   

"Aung San Suu Kyi said that the Myanmar Government has already set up an investigation committee to look for an appropriate resolution to the Myitsone dam issue," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters after an hour-long meeting between Suu Kyi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Zhenmin added that Suu Kyi assured the Chinese leader that she is willing to look for a resolution that serves the interest of both parties.     

Myanmar has been traditionally dependent on China's financial aid to sustaining its economy. A factor that is again denoted during Suu Kyi's ongoing visit, with Beijing promising to build a strategic bridge in the border region and two state-of-the-art hospitals in Myanmar. The agreement fo these projects is due to be signed in the coming days.

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