Restarting China-Myanmar Railway Becomes Key to China’s Trans-Asian Railway Construction

ANBOUND
2 min readMar 23, 2023

The Myanmar government has announced that discussions are underway regarding the resumption of the Myanmar railway project. This project is a component of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative and aims to connect China’s Yunnan Province with the Bay of Bengal region, spanning approximately 1,000 kilometers and divided into two parts: from Muse to Mandalay and from Mandalay to the port city of Kyaukpyu on the Bay of Bengal.

Once completed, the railway will provide China with an alternative route that bypasses the Malacca Strait, thereby avoiding any potential impact resulting from the blockade of the strait on Middle Eastern oil shipments. China’s energy security is one of its primary concerns, as approximately 70% of their crude oil needs are imported, with most of it sourced from Saudi Arabia.

Several foreign media outlets have suggested that China is accelerating the construction of the Trans-Asian Railway network to ensure energy transportation security due to Russia’s increased crude oil supply to China following international sanctions for its military operations against Ukraine. The implementation of the railway project was previously halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Myanmar government has held consultations with China regarding resuming the project.

One of the 33 agreements signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Myanmar in January 2020 included the railway project. In 2022, the first part of the railway project was approved by the Myanmar government, and plans were made to complete the railway despite traversing rugged terrain and regions within Myanmar. The railway also intends to launch a rail line connecting China and Thailand through Laos in late May, with plans to expand the frequency of operations in late June.

In summary, the China-Myanmar railway project is a crucial component of China’s Trans-Asian Railway construction. Its completion will provide China with a more stable and reliable energy transportation route while avoiding the impact of the Malacca Strait blockade on Middle Eastern oil shipments, thus ensuring China’s energy security.

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缅甸政府日前表示,缅甸铁路项目的恢复工作正在讨论中。据悉,该项目是中国“一带一路”倡议的一部分,旨在连接中国云南省和孟加拉湾区域,全长约1000公里,分为两部分,从木姐到曼德勒,以及从曼德勒到孟加拉湾的皎漂港口城市。

一旦建成,该铁路将为中国提供一条绕过马六甲海峡的线路,有助于避免海峡封锁对中东石油运输的影响。

此外,中国的能源安全一直是其主要关切之一,大约70%的原油需求依赖进口,其中大部分来自沙特阿拉伯。

有外媒表示,自俄罗斯对乌克兰展开军事行动而受到国际制裁后,俄罗斯成为中国更大的原油供应国,因此中国正加快推进泛亚铁路网建设,确保能源运输安全。此前因新冠疫情影响,该铁路项目的实施暂停,但缅甸政府已与中国就恢复项目进行磋商。

在2020年1月,中国国家主席习近平访问缅甸期间,签署了33项协议之一,其中包括铁路项目。2022年,缅甸政府批准了铁路项目的第一部分,并计划通过穿越缅甸崎岖的地形和区域,将该铁路建设完成。铁路部门还计划于5月底启动通过老挝连接中国和泰国的铁路线,并在6月底扩大运营频次。

综合而言,中缅铁路项目是中国泛亚铁路建设的重要一环。该项目的建成将为中国提供更为稳定和可靠的能源运输线路,并且有助于避免马六甲海峡的封锁对中东石油运输的影响,确保中国的能源安全。

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ANBOUND

ANBOUND is a multinational independent think tank, specializing in public policy research, incl. economy, urban and industry, geopolitical issues. Est. 1993.