OBOR Current Affairs - 2020

Latvia becomes first Baltic Sea country to link with China’s OBOR

Latvia has become the first country in the Baltic Sea area to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to link up with China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative.

The MoU was signed after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s meeting with his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinskis in Riga (capital of Latvia). It was Chinese Premier’s first visit to the European Union country.

Besides, Latvia and China also singed five agreements on cooperation in such areas as small and medium-sized enterprises, transportation and logistics.

What is China’s One Belt and One Road (OBOR) Initiative?

  • OBOR initiative is China’s ambitious development strategy and framework that aims to boost its connectivity and trade across Asia, Africa and Europe.
  • It comprises two components viz. the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
  • OBOR initiative is part of China’s revived 21st century Silk Road diplomacy that seeks to push it to take a bigger role in global affairs as a major global power.

Myanmar to support China’s OBOR, BCIM initiatives

Myanmar has officially announced to support for China’s ambitious One Belt and One Road (OBOR) connectivity initiative along the ancient Silk Road.

It was announced in the joint statement released by both countries during official state visit of Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to China.

Key highlights of Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China

  • Myanmar also Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor meant to industrialise a stretch spanning more than 2,000-km.
  • BCIM corridor links Kunming in China with Mandalay in Myanmar and passes through Bangladesh and ends at Kolkata in India.
  • Myanmar also asked for China’s support to realise peace and national reconciliation through political dialogue in case of militancy.
  • Myanmar has been a victim of militancy which for decades is fuelled by clandestine sale of drugs, jade and timber, mostly channelled through China.
  • Myanmar also discussed on issues for China’s support for it infrastructure projects including on Myitsone dam project.
  • Myitsone dam project is controversial China-backed project in Northeastern Myanmmer stalled since 2011 on the grounds of causing extensive ecological damage.
  • Talks were also held for establishing an Asian super-grid with Myanmar as one of its nodes with China’s state-owned State Grid Corporation.