The 97km that frustrate China’s mastery of the Mekong

Ninety-seven kilometres of rocks in Thai waters stand between Beijing and dominance over the Mekong, a mighty river that feeds millions as it threads south from the Tibetan plateau through five countries before emptying into the South China Sea.

China has long wanted to dredge the riverbed in northern Thailand to open passage for massive cargo ships — and potentially military vessels.

Ultimately a link could be carved from Yunnan province thousands of kilometres south through the Mekong countries — Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Keep reading