Too little, too late for US ‘recommitment’ to Mekong countries? China’s already there

As Beijing floods the Mekong with much-needed cash, the US finds itself pushing back against the tide to retain influence.

US officials say Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will “recommit” the United States to supporting the five countries along Southeast Asia’s longest river, the Mekong, when he makes his first duty visit to Bangkok in July.

Pompeo has voiced concern that China has tried to “steadily salami-slice its way to control” in the region. Mark Clark, acting deputy assistant secretary for Southeast Asia at the state department, said his boss planned to highlight what had been achieved in the past decade by the US-backed Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI).

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