Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s planned trip to Burma in September is up in the air, after reports that President Thein Sein’s government may have some doubts about the Thai commitment to the Dawei project.
The mega-investment project in the southeastern port town, was expected to highlight their scheduled meeting on September 19-21.
A high-ranking Thai group led by Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangkatekaew and National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) secretary-general Arkom Termpitayapaisit visited Dawei last week to prepare for the meeting.
A source at Government House told The Nation newspaper on Saturday that Bangkok is still waiting for a response from Naypyitaw to clear doubts about the meeting.
A source at the Foreign Ministry speculated that Burma also might still lack confidence in the Thai government's stance on several issues affecting Burma’s domestic politics or other issues may affect the meeting.
The Dawei project was initiated by Thai construction firm Italian-Thai Development Plc, which signed an MOU with Burma’s Port Authority in 2008. The 10-year project will includes deep-sea ports, heavy industries and office building and commercial areas. ITD was awarded a contract, of which the first phase is worth an estimated US$8.6 billion. The entire project could be worth $58 billion or more.
After Burma began to open to foreign investment early this year, the mega-investment project came into the spotlight, drawing interests from several countries. ITD's contract for developing the industrial estate in the Dawei Special Economic Zone was eventually scaled down from 250 to 200 square kilometres.