Mekong Utility Watch

China gets trade route instead of dams on the Mekong River

Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun
January 29, 2007

Article excerpt: … [A] month ago, two small river tankers each carrying about 1,000 barrels of refined oil pulled into a Mekong River port in China’s southwestern Yunnan province after a voyage from Thailand’s northern Chiang Rai province. A good deal of secrecy surrounded this pioneering delivery, and for good reasons: Preparations for the voyage of the little flotilla have been long in the making, not everyone is happy, and the implications are profound. At the strategic level, the fashioning of the Mekong River — which rises in Tibet and flows through China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before reaching the South China Sea — into a regional highway for the passage of trade and people is part of Beijing’s aim to match or supplant the influence of the United States in Southeast Asia. … At a tactical level, China also sees the Mekong route as part of its network of energy security, especially against the possibility of conflict with the U.S. … Read the full story. [PDFver here]

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