Voice of America 17 March 2006
By Songrit PhonNgern
Thailand says the studies that China has done on the environmental impacts of reef blastings in the Mekong river were not up to international standards, with the emphasis on trade benefits that China will receive more than environmental concerns.
A Thai senator says the studies which were paid for by China, were hastily done and lasted only one year. Reef blastings have rendered the Mekong navigable all year round since 2004 for cargo boats weighing up to 500 tons, transporting merchandises from China down to the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos, and Burma share borders.
As a result, river trade between the four nations have increased to over one billion dollars. 85% of that amount is trade between China and Thailand, while Burma and Laos enjoy a 15% share.