China’s Push to Control the Mekong River a “Troubling Trend”

The United States has expressed concern over Chinese dam building, dredging and other activities on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, calling them “troubling trends.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with ministers from lower Mekong River countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — ASEAN — has their annual meetings in Bangkok last week.

“We see a spree of upstream dam building which concentrates control over downstream flows,” Pompeo said.

“The Mekong River has been at its lowest levels in a decade — a problem linked to China’s decision to shut off water upstream.

China also has plans to blast and dredge riverbeds. China operates extra-territorial river patrols.”

He also noted “a push to craft new Beijing-directed rules to govern the river” that would usurp the role of the regional Mekong River Commission.

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