The study, which will include environmental impact and social assessments of the project, is due to be completed within two years.

China is already building a 330km line from Dali in Yunnan province to the border town Ruili, which is situated on the opposite bank of the Ruili river to Muse. The line on the Chinese side will be electrified and designed for operation at up to 140km/h.

China’s ambassador to Myanmar, Mr Hong Liang, said the project is a key component of China’s Belt and Road initiative and the China - Myanmar Economic Corridor.