$1.7 Billion Cambodian Canal Project Draws Increasing Scrutiny

The China-backed Techo Funan Canal, which will connect the Mekong River to the country’s coast, has given rise to environmental and security concerns.

The governments of Vietnam and the United States are calling for greater transparency over a $1.7-billion canal project that is being built by a Chinese state-owned firm in southern Cambodia.

The 180-kilometer-long Techo Funan Canal, which is scheduled to begin construction later this year, will connect the country’s capital Phnom Penh to the coastal province of Kep, lowing the cost of shipping goods between the capital and the country’s only deep-sea port at Sihanoukville and reducing its reliance on Vietnamese ports. China’s state-owned China Bridge and Road Corporation landed the deal to develop the canal during last year’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

While the Cambodian government says that the project is intended to benefit the country’s economy by making it less dependent on its eastern neighbor — Prime Minister Hun Manet has described the project as a way of “breathing through our own nose” — the environmental and security implications of the project have drawn scrutiny, particularly next door in Vietnam.

In full: https://thediplomat.com/2024/04/1-7-billion-cambodian-canal-project-draws-increasing-scrutiny/

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