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tv   Asia Insight  LINKTV  August 12, 2019 5:00am-5:31am PDT

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♪ ♪ china. population 1.3 billion, is now
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the world's second-largest economy. president xi jinping is working to extend that economic power well beyond his country's borders. xi's vision is called "one belt, one road." he wants to create a modern-day silk road, improving roads and ports to form a gigantic economic bloc stretching all the way to africa and europe. one country is set to play a particularly important role in this initiative. that country is myanmar, led by state councilor aung san suu kyi. a key part of xi's plan is this route linking southern china with myanmar's rakhine state. completion of this route would link china to the indian ocean without passing through the malacca straits, a development that would have significant strategic and economic benefits for china.
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in 2010, work began on construction of two pipelines along the new route. onee for natural gas was completed in 2013. the other for crude oil was completed the following year. they pump these fuels 770 kilometers from the indian ocean to the chinese border. the pipelines start from an island in n rakhine state. a port for offloading crude oil from tankers has already been constructed here. bubuthat's jusust the benning. ans areoving forward t creaeate a special e economic z aroundhehe port, alslso with chininese supporort. that includes building a 1,700-hectare industrial park. and a a deep seaport capabable handndling ten l large cargo s at a time.
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the construction cost was initially estimated at $10 billion. myanmar's government hopes the project will create 400,000 new jobs. while that's welcome news for many locals, another a aspect o the project is bitterly oppppos. land acquisitions. >> farmers receive compensation when their land is taken. but that's little comfort for many, who say they've lost their livelihoods.
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angry farmers decided to protest. but myanmar's authorities don't tolerate dissent. they arrested the leaders of the protest movement and detained them for three months. with the project set to move to the next stage, anger and frustration is spreading. >> we report on the impact of china's belt and road initiative on the people of myanmar's rakhine state. rakhine state in the west of myanmar sits on the bay of bengal. home to 2.7 million people, it
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is one of the poorest states in the country. most of the population is engaged in fishing or agriculture. poverty forces many rakhine residents to look for work elsewhere. thailand and malaysia are common destinations. in one area in the state, though, people have been promised a better future. the islands of ramree and maday are sites of a china development project. the port township of zhoukoyu is at the heart of the region. this is the town's pier. the old structure has charm but ceaseses to function at low tide. when the tide is out, some else
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on technology takes over. oxen carry cargo and people out to the boats. and they are also responsible for unloading. a 20-minute drive away from kyaukoyu is a a more modedern structure,e, a modern gas facility. natural gas collected offshore of rakhine state is cooled, liquefied, then pumped to china. built by the china national petroleum corporation, cnbc, the plant began operations in 2013. not far away is maday island. the company built a port here. we took a boat to take a closer look.
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maday island is 25 kilometersrs away. the waters around these islands are important fishing grounds. the marine life here provides a livelihood for many of the locals. but the fishing boats no longer have these seas to themselves. these buoys mark safe channels for large tankers. 90 minutes after leaving kyaukoyu, the port in maday comes into view. this port can handle vessels of up to 300,000 tons. nearby, a fleet of tugboats waits to help guide tankers into
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port. on the sign boards, chinese characters, clear for all to see. a little further on we come to a fishing village. we disembark and see what the villagers have to say.
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>> the fishing folk are clearly upset at the changes taking place, and we soon learn they are not alone. our next stop is the farming hamlet of yua ma. maung maung myint used to be a farmer. his land was confiscated to build the tanker terminal.
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>> he says somomething else was requisiti requisitioned. a place of great importance to the villagers. >> moe san myint is 39. he has a wife and three children to support. likeke other villagers, he sayse gave up farming against his s will.
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>> moe san myint was later paid compensation, but that hasn't satisfied him. he says he was cheated out of money and a livelihood.
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>> his farmland had been passed down to him by his parents. some of the land was not officially registered, and he did not receive any money for it. now that he can no longer farm, he scrapes by as a day laborer on construction sites and other temporary jobs. in the port, meanwhile, it's business as usual. this tanker has just arrived.
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330 meterss long, i it can c cap to 300,000 tons of crude oil. the journey from saudi arabia to maday island takes around two weeks. this logbook records tanker arrivals at maday. approximately three to four tankers per month arrive at the port. these records also show the amount of crude oil brought ashore. the average monthly volume over the past two years is around 770,000 tons. this is still only 40% of the volume china plans to deliver through the port. and the port is only a part of a
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much grander plan, the creatati of a a s special e enomic zone t and fundededith chinesese suppo. the planned industrial park will cover 1,700 hectares. developers expect to attract a rarange of businesses, from oil refineneries to textxtile plant. plans also inclulude building a port that can accccept ten larg cargo ships. initial estimates for the construction cost totaled $10 billion. land requisition for the special economic zone is already under way. the village of peyay sits in a green belt of rice paddies about 10 kilometers south of kyaukoyu. farming the main occupation in
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this area. recently the government gave notice of pending land acquisitioions. today villagersrs have gathered together to decide how to respond. the notification stated that the local government had given permission for land around five villages to be used for the kyaukoyu economic zone. it said villagers should contact the government if they had obobjections. local journalists are taking part in the discussions.
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familiar with the legalal procedures for registering their land. they are deeply worried.
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>> the villagers decide to hand in a petition to the authorities. the petition declares that the land slated for seizure is essential for the people who live here. it's used to grow rice and vegetables, graze cattle, and store water in reservoirs. it ends on a defiant note, stating that villagers cannot accept the land requisition measures. one of the journrnalists coveri the villalage discussssions goe visit the local branch of the arakan national party in kyaukoyu. he has questions for the representative of rakhine state in the national assembly.
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>> it's an anxious time for villagers. and one of the problems is authoritities have given them little information on n how the plan to proceed with the special economic zone. the law governing special economic zones in myanmar was passed in january 2011. then president thein sein was guiding the country's transition to civilian government. he also wanted to fix a broken economy. decades of military rule had left myanmar isolated from the international community and heavily reliant on china for support. aiming to reduce that dependency, thein sein courted investment from other nations. the result was the creation of myanmar's first special economic
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zone, the tillawar sez. work to develop the zone got under way in 2015 after a deal was concluded with the japanese government the previous year. tillawat is now home to more than 80 companies. many are from japan and thailand. a joint venture operates the zone. myanmar paid 51% of the costst. japan provided theemaining 49%. >> actually, myanmar mostly doing the agriculture and trading, that's why we need to improve our manufacturing sector. also, we need the opportunity to create more jobs for our people. that's why this special economic
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zone will be a good opportunity for the industrial development and also creating jobs. >> bidding for contracts to build the kyaukoyu open zone. the winning bid went to a chin these state-owowned conglomerat. at that time the construction costs including the industrial parkrk and portt was estimated $10 billion. three-quarters of this would pay for building the port, with china providing between 75% and 85% of thehe money. the bill i is hugege, but so is china's interestt in winning access to the indian ocean, a key part of the "belt and road" initiative. one month before the contract was awarded, aung san suu kyi led her party, the national
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league for democracy, n hchld, victory in the general election. her government took power in march the following year. a journalist for the nationwide newspaper "voice" has a long-standing interest in the kyaukoyu economic zone. he says the launch of the aung san suu kyi government had a major impact on the government. >> as officials reviewed the
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contract, more media organizations began reporting concerns about the kyaukoyu special economic zone. a newspaper said there was risk of myanmar falling into a china debt trap. highlighting the enormous cost, it highlighted to pay its share of the project economists estimate it would need to externally borrow around $2 billion, most likely from chinese sources. the article gave an example from sri lanka to illustrate the very real risks of taking o on debt from china. the port of hambatota was constructed at a cost of $1.5 billion, most of it funded by a loan from china. however, sri lanka, struggling to repay the loan, later handed 70% of the shares in the port to
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the chinese operators. the article pointed out that beijing now exercises de facto sovereign control over the strategic facility. aware of these risks, the aung san suu kyi government began discussions with china. it wanted to revise the scope and investment terms of the zhao interview project. but the talks scan stalled. it was around this time a serious situation erupted in rakhine state. in august 2017, extremists from the minority rohingya, a muslim group, attacked a police facility. myanmar's security forces responded with a brutal campaign aimed at driving rohingya out of the country. 700,000 people fled across the border into neighboring bangladesh.
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aung san suu kyi w was harshly criticized by the international community for failing to rein in the security forces. >> it is risky for anybody to go headlong into a problem without considering all the various aspects involved. >> amid the diplomatic fallout, some countries suspended business ties with myanmar. the aung san suu kyi government had little choice but to seek support from its long-time ally. in early november 2018, a ceremony was held to mark a new agreement between myanmar and china over the you interview special economic zone. the port is to be constructed in stages witith the first stage costing $1.3 billion. 70% of which will come from china, 30% from myanmar.
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>> not everyone wants to cooperate. people in rakhine state are becoming more outspoken in the criticisms of the project. at the end of november, more than 1,000 people gathered in kyaukoyu to choice their demands. some came from ramlee and maday islands. others came from much further. their message was that the land and natural resources of rakhine
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belong to its people and that decisions about development should be made by the state government r rather ththan the central government. the arakan national party has yet to clarify whether t they a for or against the economic zonene. leaders say they are waiting to hear more details of the project. but now that the framework agreement with china has been signed, the party will need to make some decisions. >> china has set its sights on the indian ocean. it's promising a bright future
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for all those who help reach its destination. but stung by land acquisitions, the people of rakhine state are still wary of getting on board the "belt and road" initiative.
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>> flights canceled in hong kong because of pro-democracy protesters. they are accusing police of using excessive force. teargas was fired into an enclosed metro station. updates fromtting our reporter in hong kong. to decide if the prime minister will face a no-confidence motion. conservative elected president of guatemala.
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he has criticized a migration de


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