When China’s foreign minister became the first foreign dignitary to visit Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi was elected, the $3.6 billion Chinese-financed Myitsone Dam project did not sit high on the agenda. Four months later, when Suu Kyi made her first visit outside Southeast Asia to China, it was the hot button in the two countries’ discussion.
Despite the halting of the damn on the eve of the country’s National Day in 2011, China welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi with the red-carpet. Yun Sun, a fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC said China hoped “to revise the original plan but proceed with alternatives with equivalent outcomes.” For beneath the controversial dam project lies China’s largely symbolic plan for its relationship with Myanmar.
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