Category Archives: Natural Resources

The Politics of Building a Gas Pipeline

source: Shwe Gas Movement

While the Western world continues to debate whether economic sanctions can make change in Burma, the sale of gas to China from the offshore Shwe gas fields in Arakan State threatens to raise the junta’s revenue from foreign investment to new heights and strengthen business ties throughout Asia.

Furthermore, the parallel gas and oil pipelines, which are reportedly starting construction this month from Arakan State to Yunnan Province, China, via Magwe Division, Mandalay Division and Shan State, have been criticized by human rights groups as a major contributing factor to the recent conflict in northern Shan State.

According to a report titled “Corridor of Power” released by the Shwe Gas Movement (SGM), the pipeline will make the junta at least US $29 billion over the next 30 years. Much of this is expected to be spent on military expansion, despite the current famine in Arakan State and poverty across the country.

Moreover, the report claims, construction of the pipelines, which are being built primarily by the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), is likely to lead to human rights abuse across the country and a “re-ignition of fighting between the regime and ceasefire armies stationed along the pipeline.”

According to Khur Hseng from Shan Sapawa, who has been researching the impact of the pipeline in Shan State since 2007, these fears were confirmed during the armed confrontation between the military government and the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in late August. The fighting took place just 50 km from the proposed pipeline route, killing 200 people and leading to a mass exodus of up to 30,000 civilians to China.

Read  the entire article by WIN’s Advocacy Manager JJ Kim, orignally published by The Irrawaddy here

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