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China tests new Myanmar trade route in boost to ties

China held a test run of a new overland trade route with Myanmar last month, in a show of support for its neighbour that has been hit with Western sanctions after a coup this year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Around 60 containers were sent in the first trial of the China-Myanmar corridor last month, the Post reported. The cargo travelled by road from Yangon over the Chin Shwe Haw border to Lincang in Yunnan province, China, before continuing by rail to the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu, the newspaper said.

The test comes after the first visit to Myanmar by a Chinese high-level official, Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang, since a military junta seized power in February, the paper said.

The new route could help boost trade with Myanmar and help link China with the Indian Ocean, the report said. China has been keen to increase its influence in Southeast Asia through its Belt and Road Initiative, and has invested heavily in transportation infrastructure in the region.