China-Funded Canal Project Strains Cambodia-Vietnam Ties

Phnom Penh claims that the Funan Techo Canal will give it greater economic autonomy, but Hanoi is concerned about the project’s environmental and security implications.

Although not officially acknowledged, the Funan Techo Canal, a strategic infrastructure project designed to connect the Mekong River to the Cambodian coast, is causing friction between both Vietnamese and Cambodian authorities and academics in the lead-up to the anticipated ground-breaking later this year. Vietnamese newspapers and social media networks have been captivated by this contentious project. Some Vietnamese observers have even called for the halt of the project that they deem risky and opaque.

Concerns have also lingered among Vietnamese scholars and netizens regarding the canal’s potential environmental impacts, and, even more seriously, China’s possible military use of the canal. The China Road and Bridge Corporation, a major Chinese state-owned enterprise, will oversee this grand project under a build-operate-transfer scheme, intensifying speculations about the murky relationship between Phnom Penh and Beijing.

In full: https://thediplomat.com/2024/05/china-funded-canal-project-strains-cambodia-vietnam-ties/

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