WASHINGTONVientiane's decision to build the first dam across the lower Mekong River has elicited different reactions from the United States and its closest regional ally Thailand.
Bangkok has officially taken a neutral stance but Washington has criticised the US$3.5 billion (108 billion baht) Xayaburi dam project. Environmentalists warn the dam could affect tens of millions of livelihoods, block migration routes for up to 100 fish species and trigger a dam-building spree along Southeast Asia's mightiest waterway. The US has urged a moratorium on such projects until studies into the environmental impacts are completed.
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