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Mekong competition may see China/US diplomatic crisis

Thursday, March 26, 2015


The outlook for China/US competition in the Mekong.


The United States is expanding its Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI). Additionally, the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM), a US-led donor coordination group, brings international organisations and Washington's European and Asian allies into the LMI orbit. However, in early March, China approached the Lower Mekong river region countries with a proposal for an equivalent Beijing-led institution, binding these and China closer economically and politically.


  • China's Mekong scheme could indirectly cause further Thai civil society crackdowns.
  • Mekong development frictions would hamper achieving ASEAN unity.
  • Mekong countries will try to leverage China-US geopolitical competition for their development needs.
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