United States senator John McCain has commended last week's decision of the Myanmar government to suspend the Myitsone dam project in Kachin State.
“I commend President Thein Sein and other government leaders in Naypyidaw for their bold and responsible decision to suspend construction of the Myitsone dam project, which has been estimated to do irreparable harm to the Irrawaddy River,” the American senator said.
“More than any issue in recent memory, this project and its reportedly disastrous environmental impact have united the Myanmar people in overwhelming public opposition,” he said.
McCain said it was to the credit of Thein Sein and his allies in government that they listened to the voice of the people and made a dramatic change in government policy for the sake of public interest.
“This was a democratic act and I hope the government in Naypyidaw will continue to respond to the peaceful will of the people to make additional positive changes in other areas,” McCain said.
The halt by Naypyidaw to the construction of 3.6 billion dollars dam has angered Beijing and prompted Chinese contractors, led by the state-run China Power Investment Corp, to take legal action against the Myanmar government.
Up to 90% of electricity from the hydropower dam was contracted for transfer to Yunnan in southern China.
Meanwhile, Derek Mitchell, the US special representative to Myanmar, told the New York Times he has been aware of recent evidence of reforms in the Southeast Asian state.
“We’re going to meet their action with action. If they take steps, we will take steps to demonstrate that we are supportive of the path to reform,” said Mitchell.
The US envoy spent five days in Myanmar last month and attended meetings in New York and Washington last week between senior State Department officials and Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
Produced by VoiceTV