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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China builds 'international gateway' for trade with India, Bangladesh and Myanmar

March 5, 2010

Saibal Dasgupta,
Transnational News Navigator (TNN)
March 3, 2010

BEIJING -- China has set out to build what a senior Communist party
leader described today as "an international gateway to South Asia."
The grandiose plan involves trade routes connecting India,
Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal with three Chinese provinces.

Air China has just launched a direct flight between Chengdu in
southwestern China with Bangalore. The 5-hour flight will operate
twice a week. This is the first non-stop air link between western
China and India. Bangalore has become the fourth Indian city after
New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata to have direct air links with China.

China is also building a road link with Myanmar and trying to connect
its Yunnan province with Bangladesh by road. The move follows
repeated requests from Dhaka for establishing a direct trade route
between the two countries.

The proposed road from Yunnan might pass through a small part of
Myanmar before entering Bangladesh. Plans include connecting these
roads with the Kunming highway that is being built to link Yunnan
with Bangkok. The result will be a grand network of road links
between Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh with China's Yunnan province
at the centre.

Myanmar's rail transportation department has already begun work on
laying a railroad connecting the country's border town of Muse with
Jie Guo in China's Yunnan province, sources said. A railway station
will be built at Sone Kwe village near the Lashio-Muse Union Road
that passed close to the Chinese border.

Muse accounts for 70% of the border trade conducted by Myanmar
through 11 trade points along its border. The proposed rail link is
expected to vastly enlarge the commodity flow between Myanmar and
China. China has also agreed to build a land bridge to transport oil
and gas from Myanmar.

These moves are besides proposals to extend the Tibet railway link to
Nepal and build an additional road link between Tibet and Nepal.
China also plans to widen the Karokoram highway between its western
province of Xingjian and Pakistan.

The Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan have been in serious
competition to build direct trade links with South Asia. Sichuan's
Chengdu city has managed to rope in investment from Wipro and has now
managed to connect with Bangalore. Yunnan has gained in terms of
border trade owing to its geographical advantages being closer to
some of the South Asian countries.
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