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China-Myanmar pipeline project

WSJ: “Myanmar’s Neighbors Advance Pipeline Project

HSIPAW, Myanmar — China and its neighbors are moving ahead on a multibillion-dollar oil-and-gas pipeline project that promises to greatly enhance the financial strength of Myanmar’s military regime and boost its political clout in Asia.

That promise comes as the U.S. is seeking new ways to weaken Myanmar’s regime, which has used force and imprisonment to subdue political opposition and ethnic separatists over the years, and which some analysts fear could someday pose a threat to other countries as it builds up its military. Past strategies, including the use of economic sanctions to hobble Myanmar’s junta, have largely failed.

And:

When completed, the pipeline will help unlock large untapped deposits of natural gas off Myanmar’s coast and carry it hundreds of miles to southern China, expanding Myanmar’s role as one of Asia’s important energy exporters and enhancing its influence over other countries that rely on its supplies.

(Emphasis mine.)

There’s also a video and some graphics that are worth checking out.

UPDATE: This story appears to be available to non-WSJ subscribers via Google News, but the link I provided above seems to be subscriber-only.

UPDATE 2: I meant to mention this earlier, but U.S. Senator Jim Webb, who met with Aung San Suu Kyi in August, has often warned of China’s growing influence in Myanmar. News of this pipeline project would obviously be a case in point.

U.S. Senator Jim Webb: “We Can’t Afford to Ignore Myanmar”

Just wanted to point out that U.S. Senator Jim Webb has a New York Times op-ed about his recent visit to Myanmar. Worth a read. Webb discusses Myanmar’s isolation, China’s influence, and the importance of U.S. engagement.

My previous post about Webb’s visit to Bangkok is here. And here’s my post about Aung San Suu Kyi’s guilty verdict.

Webb and Yettaw arrive in Bangkok

US Senator Jim Webb gave a press conference here in Bangkok yesterday after the completion of Webb’s visit to Myanmar. During the trip, the Virgina Democrat met with the recently-convicted Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the country’s top general, Than Shwe. Webb also secured the release of American John Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years of hard labor for swimming across a lake, uninvited, to Suu Kyi’s house in May.

In speaking to the media about the trip, Webb stressed his commitment to engaging Myanmar over time. Webb said that the sanctions against Myanmar have increased the country’s isolation and driven it into the arms of China.

Webb also said that Yettaw’s actions were “regrettable” and that the Missouri native is “not a well man.” However, Webb said that Yettaw was not a “mean spirited human being.” Webb said that Yettaw was undergoing a medical review here in Bangkok, but declined to say what will come next for Yettaw.

Here are some news stories:

  • NY Times: “American Held in Myanmar Is Released”
  • AP: “Myanmar release of US man could thaw relations”
  • WSJ: “U.S. Prisoner Leaves Myanmar: Release, Secured by Sen. Jim Webb, Fuels Debate Over Role of Private Missions”
  • Bloomberg: “Webb Wins Release of U.S. Activist, Urges Freedom for Suu Kyi”
  • AFP: “Suu Kyi US ‘guest’ given medical treatment: embassy”
  • AP: “American Gets Medical Tests After Myanmar Jailing

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