Myanmar was recently reported to have concluded its first set of international energy deals -- with China, Singapore and South Korea -- since the installation of a nominally civilian government late last year. In an email interview, Matthew Smith, a senior consultant for EarthRights International, discussed Myanmar's trade and energy relations.
WPR: What is the current state of Myanmar's energy sector, and who are its major international partners?
Matthew Smith: Myanmar -- also referred to as Burma -- is rich in natural gas, and its rivers have the region's greatest potential for hydropower generation. Investment in the energy sector is growing, with the resources and energy mostly targeted for export to Thailand and China, but new projects come at a serious cost to local communities: Pipelines and dams have for years been linked to armed conflict, forced labor, torture, killings, forced evictions and other abuses by the Myanmar army, which provides security for high-priority energy projects.