May 29, 2011

Myanmar gets credit line agreements with China for over $765 million

Myanmar and China sealed their friendship with loan and credit line agreements worth more than USD 765 million on Friday, as the Myanmar's new president praised the Chinese as a trustworthy, selfless ally.

"China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar's worthy of trust and has provided vigorous support and selfless help for Myanmar's economic development," Myanmar's new civilian president, Thein Sein, told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, state television reported.

Wen said China was willing to provide what help it can to help Myanmar's development and ensure the "smooth progress" of oil and gas pipelines being built across Myanmar into southwestern China, seen as crucial to China's energy security.

Thein Sein and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed nine agreements, including a cooperation framework agreement for a 765 million dollar line of credit from China Development Bank to Myanmar's Ministry of Taxation and Finance.

Other loan deals were agreed between various Chinese and Myanmar ministries, while another covered a hydroelectric project. No further details were given.

Hu offered his "warm congratulations" to Thein Sein for his appointment as president after the elections, which Myanmar lauded as the culmination of efforts to return the country to civilian rule.

"I believe your visit to China will be advantageous to increasing our mutual understanding and will write a new page in 21st century friendship and cooperation between China and Myanmar," Hu said, according to a pool report.

Economic relations are booming.

Bilateral trade rose more than half last year to $4.4 billion, and China's investment in Myanmar reached $12.3 billion in 2010, according to Chinese figures, with a strong focus on natural resources and energy projects.

In October, China's state energy group CNPC started building a crude oil port in Myanmar, part of a pipeline project aimed at cutting out the long detour oil cargoes take through the congested and strategically vulnerable Malacca Strait.

Source: Reuters