A busy border crossing at Muse in the northern Myannmar state of Shan has been closed since 27 December, causing hardship for fresh produce and seafood traders.
The Kyin San Kyawt crossing is used solely to transport fruit and seafood from Myanmar into China and continues to remain closed during the peak export season for watermelon and muskmelon.
Myanmar’s deputy commerce minister Aung Htoo agreed to open two additional lanes and extend hours at a nearby Kyukok-Pansai border crossing during the closure to facilitate trade. However, the 2.4m wide road leading to the border is not suitable for large trucks.
In order to relieve the situation, Htoo met with China’s ambassador to Myanmar on 7 January to discuss the situation, but at the time of publishing the border still remains closed.
Radio Free Asia reported the border closure was a security measure implemented by Myanmar soldiers after an attack on local militia.
Fruit traders said there were more than 1,000 trucks that spent hours lined up waiting to pass through the alternative border crossing at Kyukok-Pansai, as the number of trucks entering daily is around 250, down from the usual 500.
The Irrawaddy reported on 8 January that frustrated Myanmar exporters gave away 50 tonnes of watermelon to the local public in a protest, as it would have otherwise spoiled due to long wait times at the border.