By Si Thu Tun
Beijing’s weather in the first week of March was by far the finest yet this year. The city was where the annual “Two Sessions” of the NPC and CPPCC took place earlier in March. As was the practice in previous years, the Chinese government usually reveals its future plans and ongoing work to the world during the two weeks of the Two Sessions, a time in which international journalists tend to flock to China to cover the event.
Normally, international journalists visit other Chinese cities after they cover the Two Sessions in Beijing. This year’s Myanmar media delegation ventured to Tianjin port which facilitates connections to ports around the world. Then, the Myanmar group proceeded to the well-known Tianjin Library.
Quick Trip to Tianjin Port
Since adoption of reform and opening-up, Chinese port cities have witnessed unprecedented development. Given that Tianjin is the nearest sea port to Beijing, it has long served as the front porch of the capital and continues to maintain an important position.
“I am fascinated by Tianjin!” exclaimed Aye Kyu, Central Committee member of the NLD and editor-in-chief of D-Wave journal. “In our country, we are just starting on projects to build the same kind of ports. We have Thilawa port, Kyaukphyu deep-sea port and Dawei deep-sea port. I believe that we can improve our ports by studying Tianjin port. Considering Thilawa port’s proximity to Yangon, it could develop similarly.”
China has invested in many projects in Myanmar including deep sea ports and other projects in the energy sector.
“Another is Kyaukphyu port, which is ripe for development as well because of a plan to build a railway from Yunnan to Kyaukphyu,” continued Aye Kyu. “Because gas and crude oil pipe lines are already there, I believe Kyaukphyu will become a key port city like Tianjin.” Tianjin is the third largest city in China, and Tianjin port is the most important international port in the country. It is also a major trading hub connecting China to the rest of the world.
“Tianjin port, which provides access to the world, is located near Beijing, the capital of China,” illustrated Hlaing Win, editor-in-chief of Democracy Today newspaper based in Yangon, Myanmar. “Similarly, Thilawa port is located near Yangon. This visit makes me constantly think about Thilawa port. I hope that Myanmar can seize such development. Myanmar has a lot of natural resources, and I think we would be just as developed as China if we could transport our resources around the world.”
Wet Wind Farm in Fuzhou
The next day, the Myanmar media group flew to Fuzhou accompanied by journalists from China Report ASEAN. During the trip, they visited an offshore wind power station and a factory that produces all kinds of equipment and materials for wind farms.
The offshore wind farm featuring massive turbines lies in a small city called Fuqing. Although Fuqing is a county level city and not a renowned place on the world map, it hosts the biggest wind power station in Asia.
When the Myanmar delegation arrived in Fuqing, relevant officials supplied them with protection gear such as life vests and hardhats. After putting them on, the visitors were divided into two groups and boarded two boats bound for the offshore wind farm.
After a 30-minute boat trip, huge wind turbines spinning frantically thanks to strong sea breezes emerged from the horizon. Some journalists took photos of the turbines and others tried to capture selfies with them in the background.
Although wind farms are frequently seen on land, China Three Georges Corporation (CTG) is now building wind turbines on the sea. According to an official of the company, they have developed technology to install wind turbines in sea waters as deep as 50 meters. Moreover, CTG Offshore Industrial Park was established near the wind farm to produce necessary equipment such as replacement components for wind turbines. Thanks to their own factory using their own technology, the cost of producing wind power has been significantly reduced.
CTG became well-known for building mega dams along the Yangtze River including the world’s largest of its kind, the Three Georges Dam. CTG has also been developing solar power since 2011. After more than 20 years of rapid growth, CTG has become the world’s largest hydroelectric enterprise and the biggest clean energy group in China. According to its official website, CTG’s overseas investment and contracting business have expanded to over 40 countries and regions in Europe, America, Africa and Southeast Asia, with a total installed capacity of over 15 GW. CTG is working to implement the Belt and Road Initiative and plans to go global in hydroelectric development.
Members of the Myanmar media delegation were impressed with what they witnessed during the seven day visit in China and recorded the trip with their cameras and pens. The opening of the Two Sessions was aired on Myanmar International Television and a number of feature articles were published on Myanmar’s mainstream newspapers such as Democracy Today and Myanmar Alin. Journalists vowed to show the real China to the people of Myanmar and demonstrate how development can play a positive role in promoting cooperation between the two countries.
“Relations between China and Myanmar are over a thousand years old, just like the border between China and Myanmar which stretches over two thousand kilometers,” elaborated Aye Kyu. “An important dynamic between China and Myanmar is China’s consistent assistance in the Myanmar government’s effort to safeguard peace in the country. That work provides optimal chances to improve relations between China and Myanmar. Practically, China has helped Myanmar in many ways. In the UN, China has stood firmly on the side of Myanmar on issues concerning the ARSA (Arakan Salvation Army). For this move, the Myanmar people express profound gratitude to China.”