China says accord reached at last with Myanmar on oil pipeline

China and Myanmar have reached an agreement on an oil pipeline between the neighboring countries after almost a decade of talks, with the project due to start “very quickly,” Chinese vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said on Monday. The new oil gateway fits with China’s “One Belt, One Road” ambitions, linking it with central Asia and Europe, and will provide a more direct alternative route to sending Middle Eastern oil via the crowded Malacca Straits and Singapore. Liu’s remarks, at the end of a visit by Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw, mark the official launch of the 770-kilometer pipeline, which Beijing regards as essential to securing its oil needs.

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