What Happened: Myanmar and China's state-run CITIC Group have signed an agreement to develop the deep-water Kyaukpyu port, Caixin report Nov. 7. At the same time, project expenses are expected to fall from an initial cost of $7.3 billion to $6 billion.
Why It Matters: The new arrangement comes as Beijing adjusts its strategy in advancing its Belt and Road Initiative amid growing concerns and suspicions over its infrastructure projects. Specifically, participating countries are concerned that involvement in the initiative's projects could add a financial challenge through which China could gain significant control. Participants are also worried that Beijing will use the projects to expand its strategic influence.
Background: In July, Myanmar's government reviewed the port development process over cost and debt concerns after the CITIC Group won the project bid in 2015.
- China's Belt and Road Initiative, Five Years In (June 22, 2018)
- The Tangled Web of Myanmar's Rohingya Crisis (Sept. 14, 2017)
- Southeast Asia: A Notch in China's Belt and Road Initiative (May 18, 2017)