Cambodia’s planned canal isn’t in its own interest, only China’s

Development should be halted for independent review of risks and benefits.

Sam Rainsy is co-founder and acting leader from exile of the Cambodia National Rescue Party. He previously served as the country’s finance minister.

Plans for a 180-kilometer canal to connect Phnom Penh with the Cambodian coast should be put on hold pending an independent review of the project’s rationale and environmental impact.

Currently, state-owned China Bridge and Road Corp. is on track to begin construction of the Funan Techo canal later this year, with the $1.7 billion project scheduled for completion by 2028.

Senior Cambodian officials say the canal will support the country’s critical garment industry and other export sectors by speeding up shipments of cargo from the capital area. Much of this traffic now travels down the Mekong River to the South China Sea via Vietnamese ports.

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