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The Fishing Port That May Become a $10 Billion Chinese Debt Bomb

  • China plans a massive deep-water port and industrial zone
  • Myanmar is concerned the project will overload it with debt
Infrastructure Development in South-Eastern Myanmar
Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

The town of Kyaukpyu, nestled around a small fishing port on the Bay of Bengal, has the air of a place expecting to get rich soon.

In the seaside market, stalls of seafood unloaded from wooden fishing boats floating in the rubbish-strewn harbor have been joined by stacks of Chinese-made toys and smartphones. Nearby, cattle graze between building sites as high-rise offices and hotels replace weather-stained bungalows. Fine-dining rooftop restaurants and a golf course underline the sense of transition.