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Politics

A new Myanmar oil pipeline helps China dodge US influence

Fewer crude imports by sea means greater energy security for oil-hungry country

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The port city of Kyaukpyu, in western Myanmar, is at the heart of China's drive for new resources and trade routes.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI/YANGON China has taken a major step forward in its quest for energy security by opening an oil pipeline through Myanmar, a cross-border project that also underscores the two countries' increasingly close ties.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Myanmar counterpart, Htin Kyaw, agreed on April 10 to activate the oil pipeline, which stretches roughly 770km from Kyaukpyu, a port city in western Myanmar, to the Chinese border. The project -- the crown jewel among the economic cooperation agreements the pair signed during talks in Beijing -- should allow oil-hungry China to reduce its reliance on shipments through sea lanes where the U.S. wields significant influence.

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