Myanmar is in initial talks to buy electricity from China, in the latest sign of warming ties with Beijing under leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Since taking office in April last year, Suu Kyi has sought to repair relations that were strained when a previous semi-civilian government in 2011 blocked a China-backed dam, which was supposed to send most of its electricity to China’s Yunnan province. China’s appetite for the hydro project has waned in recent years, as a switch towards less energy-intensive industries amid an economic slowdown has left Yunnan province with a surplus of power. Instead, Beijing has turned its attention to other projects that fit with its “Belt and Road” initiative, which aims to stimulate trade by investment in infrastructure throughout Asia and beyond. Three Chinese state-owned companies have proposed separate plans to plug Myanmar’s national power grid into Yunnan’s electricity network, according to people familiar with the talks. While China has been supplying power on a small scale to some remote Myanmar towns near their shared border, the talks are the first to discuss connecting the national grids of the two countries to meet Myanmar’s urgent demand for electricity.

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