China, Myanmar sign MoU on feasibility study of a rail link between Muse, a city in Shan state facing China and Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city.
China and Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday to conduct feasibility study of a railway linking Muse, a border town in Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state, with Mandalay, the country’s second largest city in the north. The city is an important land border checkpoint as it is situated on the Shweli River (Nam Mao in Chinese), and is connected by a bridge and road to Ruili district in Yunnan Province. Since 2010, relations between Muse and Yunnan have intensified, especially thanks to a joint company looking after oil and gas pipelines linking together the Bay of Bengal via Mandalay and Muse to Kunming.
Under the MoU, inked between China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co. Ltd and state-run Myanma Railways, the feasibility study will be conducted within two years covering environmental and social impact assessment.
The project is expected to reduce transportation cost, contribute to socio-economic development while conforming to environmental conservation, Myanmar Transport and Communication Minister U Thant Zin Maung said during the signing ceremony.
He said the railway, part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, is economically and strategically important, and will contribute to the two countries’ long-term paukphaw (fraternal) friendship.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang said the railway project will inject new energy into the development of China’s Belt and Road initiative and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
Hong hoped that the railway will contribute to Myanmar’s economic development and peace and stability of northern Myanmar.
The railway extends 431 km with a designed speed of 160 km per hour. It will run through important towns in the country’s north and some economic hubs. By ultimately connecting to China, the rail line could then have an economic and tourism effect on Northern Myanmar similar to the one expected to occur in Lao PDR, once the high speed rail link opens from Kunming in Vientiane around 2022.