Thailand Challenges Laos Dam Building Spree On Mekong

Daily Express

Thailand has threatened to sink plans for a Chinese-developed dam planned for the Mekong River in neighbouring Laos, in a rare rebuke that hints at a rising tide of dissension in an area where all three countries share South-East Asia’s largest waterway, reports Nikkei Asia.

Thailand has raised objections to the US$2 billion Sanakham Dam since late last year, when government officials broke diplomatic protocol and made critical statements in the media against the project.

The dam, which is being developed by China Datang, is due to generate 684 megawatts of electricity when it comes online by 2028 and is considered an integral part of the Laotian government’s strategy to become “the battery of South-East Asia.”

Bangkok raised concerns again this month, saying it rejected a new technical report at a meeting hosted by the Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental body based in Vientiane, the Laotian capital. The commission was established to manage water resources in the Mekong basin, which is shared by members Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.“We are raising our concerns through the [commission], which sent us the insufficient and out-of-date data,” Somkiat Prajamwong, Secretary-General of the Office of National Water Resources, told Nikkei Asia, referring to the report submitted by the Laotian government and Datang.

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