How Cambodia’s Chinese-backed Funan Techo Canal Risks Destabilizing the Lower Mekong Delta

In May 2023, the former prime minister of Cambodia – Hun Sen – led a cabinet meeting that gave the green light to the “Funan Techo Canal”, the first waterway system in Cambodia, which will connect Phnom Penh Autonomous Port to Kep Province of Cambodia.

The canal is 180 kilometers long, stretching from Prek Takeo of the Mekong River to Prek Ta Ek and Prek Ta Hing of the Bassac River, and connects to Kep province. The project will cut through four provinces in Cambodia including Kandal, Takeo, Kampot, and Kep province of Cambodia.

The plan is to build a waterway that is 100 meters wide, with a navigation depth of 4.7 meters. The project also includes the construction of three water gate systems, eleven bridges, and 208-kilometer sidewalks, which will be constructed by China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC) using the Build-Operate-Transfer model.

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