In a meeting with Norway’s deputy head of mission to Burma on Friday, leaders of Kachin political parties said that they would not accept the Myitsone hydropower dam in Kachin State.
Minister Counsellor Lise Nordgaard spent around two hours on the afternoon of February 8 meeting in Myitkyina’s Palm Spring Resort Hotel with representatives of the Kachin State Party—a political party formed from a merger of four other parties.
"When the Norwegian ambassador asked about the Myitsone issue, we clearly said that we absolutely would not accept construction of the dam," Kachin Democratic Party leader Gumgrawng Awng Hkam said to KNG.
The China-backed Myitsone dam, planned on the confluence of the Irrawaddy River, was temporarily suspended under Burma’s previous government, headed by U Thein Sein. Pressure from China to restart the dam project has been building, and the future of the project remains unknown.
The Myitsone dam is widely opposed by the Kachin public, with 7,000 people protesting the dam in Myitkyina on Thursday.
Gumgrawng Awng Hkam said that they explained to Ms. Nordgaard that while Kachin State needs electricity and development initiatives, such projects must be operated under a system of democratic federalism, which does not yet exist in the country. The Kachin representatives highlighted centralization as currently being the major challenge.
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