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Kachin Catholics pray China dam project 'bursts' Whats this?
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Myanmar's president heads for Beijing summit that may see infrastructure horse trading

Kachin Catholics pray China dam project 'bursts'

Catholic ethnic Kachin Naw Ra piloting his boat down the Irrawaddy River with the first pylons for the Myitsone Dam in the background. (Photo by Cory Wright)

John Zaw and Michael Sainsbury, Myitkyina

April 10, 2017

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Local Catholic leaders in Kachin State are cautiously optimistic over the prospect of a deal between the Myanmar government and Beijing over controversial China-built Myitsone Dam.

Reports have indicated that the first state visit by Myanmar President Htin Kyaw to Beijing would involve discussions about the cancellation of the project in exchange for port-based opportunities for China on the country's coast or additional jade mining concessions.

Work on the US$3.6 billion project commenced in 2008 but the military-backed government of President Thein Sein suspended its construction in September 2011 following protests and widespread environmental and human displacement concerns. The issue became a major thorn in relations between the two sides as China vigorously agitated for recommencing work.

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