China closes Mekong River stretch

China closes Mekong River stretch

China has declared a 60-kilometre section of Mekong River off-limits to all types of boats indefinitely while rock blasting is undertaken to widen the channel for commercial shipping operations.

China announced on Friday that operators of all types of boats should avoid entering the river from Guan Lei to Ganlanpa in Yunnan's Xishuangbanna prefecture.

It also also erected wires across the river to prevent boats from entering the section, which has now been declared a danger zone.

Guan Lei port, however, remains open to cargo and passenger boats as usual.

As a result of the river closure, passengers travelling by boat from Chiang Rai to Jinghong in China are now being transferred to a bus to travel on to their destination, about 100 kilometres earlier than they would have previously changed, said Pakaimas Vierra, vice-president of the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

Jinghong is the main city of Xishuangbanna and is popular among Thai tourists.

Ms Pakaimas insisted the closure of the river in China would not have any serious impact on tourism or cargo transport because travelling on to China by car is now convenient.

In 2000, China's plan to widen the Mekong River by blasting rocks to make it possible for a 300-tonne ship to navigate the stretch between Yunnan and Luang Prabang encountered resistance by Thai environmentalists over the possible impact on the river's ecosystem.

The resistance led China to move the rock-blasting further back to areas of the river situated within its territorial boundaries.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (17)

Shuttered Hong Kong democracy paper wins press freedom award

HONG KONG: Jailed Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and the staff of his now-shuttered Apple Daily newspaper have been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize by the World Association of News Publishers.

14:45

Rains trigger floods and landslides in Vietnam, 18 missing

HANOI: Heavy rains that triggered floods and landslides in central Vietnam have left at least 18 people missing, some feared dead, with houses destroyed and roads damaged, authorities said on Thursday.

14:31

Soldier charged with murder of woman in Tak Bai

NARATHIWAT: The man charged with shooting dead a 44-year-old woman in Tak Bai district on Wednesday is a soldier stationed at a military camp in this southern province, a 4th Army spokesman confirmed on Thursday.

13:59