Time to push China for real Mekong partnership

The Asean summit offers a great opportunity for Mekong riparian countries to press China, a major dialogue partner, on commitments for sustainable development of the region’s most important river.

Leading the Chinese delegation is Premier Li Keqiang. He is to meet our prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss a so-called strategic partnership while the Asean-China summit is to take place tomorrow.

As the upstream country, China has taken significant control over the Mekong. The country has already built 11 hydro-dams on the river and plans 17 more in years to come. In addition to dam building, China has turned sections of the river into a trade route for its vessels. To do so, it blasted rapids in areas known to be the habitats of indigenous Mekong fish, controlling water depth and volume to accommodate transportation of goods.

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Nauvarat Suksamran