China deploys army near Myanmar border to safeguard oil pipeline

Naypyidaw/Beijing: – China has deployed its military near the Myanmar border to secure the China-Myanmar fuel pipeline. ‘The Irrawaddy’, a website from Myanmar, reported this. The website also claimed that this deployment could be to issue a warning to Myanmar. There is a massive resentment in the people of Myanmar against China over the issue of the military coup. Moreover, fears were expressed in China that the fuel pipeline may become a target of this resentment. The report of military deployment becomes significant against this background.   

Two months ago, the Myanmar military took over power, overthrowing the elected government through a coup. Intense reactions have been received worldwide over this coup and the subsequent military actions against the protestors. But China adopted a stand that this is an internal matter of Myanmar and the country’s stability is more important. The meetings between the Chinese and Myanmar officials before the coup had drawn significant attention. Many leading countries, including Japan, claimed that China was involved in this coup. Besides, China supported the coup to increase its influence in the region.   

The statement of demand made by the Chinese foreign ministry, following the coup, had been published. China had expressed concerns over the security of the fuel pipeline project and other Chinese interests in Myanmar. China had warned that if the Chinese projects were hit, international investment in Myanmar would be under threat. Furthermore, the relations between Myanmar and China also will get affected. An intense reaction had been received from the Myanmar population over this Chinese statement. It was also warned that the Chinese pipeline passing through Myanmar could even explode.   

After that, the factories of some Chinese companies, hotels and other enterprises had been attacked in the protests. Placards against China are a common feature of the Myanmar protests and the reactions on social media also are intensifying. Against this background, the Chinese military deployment on the Myanmar border becomes significant.   

China has built two fuel pipelines in Myanmar; the pipeline supplying natural gas carries nearly 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas per annum. Meanwhile, 400,000 barrels of crude oil are supplied through the other 771 kilometres long pipeline per day. Nearly 2 million tonnes of crude oil is provided to Myanmar through this pipeline. Myanmar-China pipeline is claimed to be a part of the ambitious Chinese One Belt One Road scheme and the Two Oceans Strategy. Therefore, its security is vital to China.   

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