Water woes: Cambodia and Vietnam clash over the Funan Techo Canal

Environmental, economic and geopolitical concerns are all bound up in the latest tensions along the Mekong River.

In August 2023, Cambodia sent an official notice to the Mekong River Commission flagging the construction of a new major canal project on the Mekong River. The Mekong, long a source of regional bounty, has become a modern point of contention for the countries along the waterway, with disputes over the environmental and economic cost to the river flow from the growing number of upstream dam and canal projects.

Cambodia’s planned 180-kilometre Funan Techo Canal, worth US$1.7 billion, is funded by China as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative. This canal provides a waterway linking the capital Phnom Penh and the deep seaport in the coastal province Kep, ultimately opening onto the South China Sea. The Cambodian government hopes that this ambitious project may foster economic development by facilitating the transportation of goods and eco-tourism, along with an estimated 5 million jobs to be created. Moreover, the Funan Techo waterway would reduce Cambodia’s dependence on Vietnam’s seaport, notably Cai Mep.

In full: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/water-woes-cambodia-vietnam-clash-over-funan-techo-canal

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