As China bans coal at home, it is investing in a slew of coal-fired power plants in Vietnam, new capacity that is a potent threat to the country’s air, water and people
“The investors have just submitted to MIC, but most of the projects are already started (on the ground). Rules and regulations are just follow-up activities and EIA/SIA is just for ticking the box”
International rivers, such as the Mekong, are crucial arteries carrying the lifeblood of freshwater that sustains human existence and ecosystems around the world.
The fate of 70 million people rests on what happens to the Mekong river. With world leaders meeting in Paris next week for crucial UN climate talks, John Vidal journeys down south-east Asia’s vast waterway – a place that encapsulates some of the dilemmas they must solve. He meets people struggling to deal with the impacts of climate change as well as the ecological havoc created by giant dams, deforestation, coastal erosion and fast-growing cities
The giant dam is one of the most controversial construction projects in Cambodia. The electricity-generation potential of the Lower Sesan 2 is massive but, for the Mekong River’s aquatic life and nearby villagers, the price of such progress could be colossal. This photo essay explores the issues.
Investors have up to now been cautious on entering Myanmar due to lingering sanctions, while others who have been waiting out political uncertainties may be assured by the NLD’s sweeping victory, which leaves little doubt over the preference for fully civilian rule.
Lands have been expropriated and Mae Sot villagers, who worry about having industrial estates in the area instead. They protested against the issuing of ‘land deeds’ for originally reserved forest. If the state succeeds then local communities could be arrested as invaders, said a conservation group of Mae sot residents. The expropriated areas include 803 rai of national reserved forest, 2,182 rai of permanent forest area, and 13 rai of public space. The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand was assigned to manage 803 rai and the Treasury Department manages 1,287 rai.
The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) framework was officially launched on Thursday following talks among senior foreign affairs officials from China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam in Jinghong, Yunnan Province.
FOCUSING ON THREE KEY AREAS
The Lancang-Mekong River is a natural link between the six countries.
At the first LMC foreign ministers’ meeting, they decided to cooperate in three key areas – politico-security issues, economic affairs and sustainable development, and social affairs and people-to-people exchanges.
At the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Nam Hong, Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith, Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attended the meeting, and Wang Yi and Don Pramudwinai co-hosted the meeting.
China aims to complete laying a 418-kilometre (260-mile) railway from a border town to Laos by 2020, the official China Economic Herald reported, as the economic giant seeks a new route into the emerging markets of Southeast Asia.
The two countries agreed on Friday to jointly build a 40-billion yuan ($6.28 billion) railway from the border town of Boten to the Laos capital Vientiane, the Herald reported.
The deal was announced at a signing ceremony attended by senior officials from the National Development & Reform Commission the country’s top economic planner, China Railway Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of China, the paper said.
Laos, poor and landlocked, has traditionally been firmly in the orbit of its larger neighbour to the east, Vietnam.
But China has been aggressively courting Laos as it sees the communist-ruled country as an important route into Southeast Asia, and its ports on the Mekong River for landlocked parts of southwestern China such as Yunnan.
Thailand’s listed power producer Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL (RATCH) plans to invest around $1 billion in power plants in Indonesia, Laos and China, a top official with the company said.
The company expects its aggressive investment to double its electricity production capacity to 8,000 megawatts, increasing its enterprise value from the current level of 124 billion baht to 188 billion baht by 2018.
Rum Herabat, the newly-appointed chief executive officer, said the company is looking at three main approaches to increase business. These include – exploring new investments, managing efficiency of main power plants and completing construction of new power plants as planned.
The potential projects, for which the company is conducting feasibility studies and negotiation include, 2,000-MW JAWA7 in Indonesia, 400-MW Sekong 4 hydropower project in Lao PDR, seven solar farms projects for the public sector in Thailand (with a combined capacity of 35 MW) and 2,000-MW power plant project in China.