Commentary: No more irresponsible remarks on Myanmar-China pipelines [Xinhua]

by Xinhua writer Wu Liming

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) — Irresponsible remarks on the Myanmar-China oil and gas Pipeline project should stop as the scientifically proven feasible project has benefited multiple parties.

A Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline (Myanmar section) started to deliver gas to China on Sunday, signalling a landmark step for the huge energy transmit project, which also includes building a crude oil pipeline.

Western criticism of the cross-border pipelines is totally irresponsible and ill-disposed.

Firstly, the project has undergone scientific study and strict examination and conform [sic] with local regulations and laws.

Sources with the investors say operations of the two pipelines have been conducted in strict accordance with specifications and patterns of international pipeline projects since the beginning of the pre-feasibility study stage.

Secondly, it is wrong to say that only China benefits from the project, while deliberately turning a blind eye to the comprehensive benefits enjoyed by Myanmar and its people.

The huge project will dramatically upgrade Myanmar’s strategic and economic position in Southeast Asia, not to mention dozens of millions of U.S. dollars Myanmar will gain from “road toll fees” and transit fees.

The Bangkok Post of Thailand said in a recent report that the pipelines would make Myanmar a “trade hub” of Southeast Asia and the country would consequently be on track to becoming Asia’s newest crossroads.

The project is expected to generate momentum for local economic development. More than 220 local enterprises participated in the construction of the pipelines.

It will also bring more job opportunities and improve the livelihood of local people living along the pipelines.

The companies running the pipelines have so far donated 20 million U.S. dollars for use in education, medical treatment, health and disaster relief. Besides, 45 schools and 24 clinics have been built, which benefit nearly 1 million local people.

As a matter of fact, the project is co-invested by six parties from four countries — China, Myanmar, South Korea and India.

Why do some Western critics make irresponsible remarks on the project? It stems from their shady mentality.

On the one hand, they are unwilling to see an intimate relationship between China and Myanmar and are jealous of the huge strategic energy project. On the other hand, they are unwilling to see China’s success in diversifying its energy imports and its achievement in ensuring energy security.

Needless to say, the completion of the China-Myanmar pipelines has substantially changed the strategic map of China’s energy supply channels, and to a certain extent, alleviated China’s “Malacca Dilemma.”

At present, as many as 80 percent of China’s oil imports depend on the supply line going through the Malacca and Singapore straits, while the maritime route is patrolled by fleets headed by the U.S. navy.

In fact, energy diversification is a widely-accepted practice and a strategy pursued by the international community.

The European Union, for instance, is planning the Nabucco project which aims to transmit gas from the Caspian region to Europe.

Germany and Russia have jointly built the Nord Stream Pipeline which goes through the Baltic Sea, while Poland complained about it because the pipeline bypasses its territory.

All in all, the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines have shown the strategic political trust between the two countries, and the project has benefited both sides economically. Therefore, there is no need for irresponsible remarks on it any more.

Editor: Lu Hui

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