China Power Investment Corp. wasn’t given any prior warning that Myanmar President Thein Sein was going to announce the suspension of construction of the Myitsone Dam, the company’s president, Lu Qizhou, says. State media quotes him as being “totally astonished” by the news, which he says he learned through the media. Lu also says that in February, Myanmar’s Prime Minister, during an inspection of the site, had urged the company to accelerate construction. “The sudden proposal of suspension now is very bewildering,” Lu said. “If suspension means construction halt, then it will lead to a series of legal issues.” These would include the loan that China has provided Myanmar in connection with the project.
In the lengthy Q&A, Lu gives a robust defence of the dam’s environmental impact and the plans to relocate local villagers who would be displaced by the reservoir that would be created behind the dam.
Meanwhile, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), which is building an oil and gas pipeline connecting Myanmar’s Indian Ocean coast with southern China, has announced that it is giving $1.3 million to build eight schools along the pipeline.