Burma standser kinesisk-betalt kæmpedæmning i nord

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Burmas (halv)militære styre giver overraskende indrømmelse til det oprørske Kachin-folk Burma’s president has suspended construction of a huge and controversial Chinese-backed hydroelectric dam, BBC online reports Friday. In a letter read out in parliament Friday, Thein Sein said the 3,6 billion US dollar (19,8 mia. DKR) dam was “contrary to the will of the people”. The project fuelled fighting between the army and ethnic Kachin rebels, and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently joined the anti-dam campaign. The suspension is being seen as a rare victory for social activists and appears to be further evidence of the new leader-ship’s desire to seek legitimacy by being more open to public opinion. But lobby groups will still be wary because Thein Sein has said he is suspending the dam’s construction only for the term of his office, which ends in 2015. The Myitsone dam project was being developed jointly by Burma and China at the head of the Irrawaddy river in Burma’s northern rebellous Kachin state. The broad campaign against the dam presented a very real test for the relatively new civilian-led, military-backed, government. It had also become a lightning rod for growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Burma. Beijing, exploiting the void created by international sanctions, has moved rapidly to exploit Burma’s rich natural resources. Most of the electricity generated by Myitsone was due to go to China, BBC notes. The dam, which was due for completion in 2019, would be one of the world’s tallest at 152 meters high and would create a reservoir of some 766 sq km (som Falster og Møn tilsammen, red.).