Vietnam wants Laos to carefully study impacts of mega dam on Mekong

TN News

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Vietnam Thursday called on Laos to continue to study the likely environmental impacts of the controversial Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River to perfect its design.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Luong Thanh Nghi said at a regular press briefing in Hanoi that Laos had decided to go ahead with the US$3.5-billion dam "after adjusting the project design to mitigate the impact on the downstream."

He said Vietnam wants Laos to work with Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand for a careful and comprehensive research into the cumulative impacts on the environment, economy, and society that all dams expected to be built on the mainstream of Mekong would have.

In its discussions with Laos and the International Mekong River Commission's member countries, Vietnam has repeatedly expressed its viewpoint of taking the general management and sustainable development of the river into consideration while building hydropower works on the Mekong. 

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News agency AP quoted Laotian officials as saying this week that construction of the Xayaburi dam would ahead, and reported that they took several journalists and diplomats to the site of the proposed dam on Southeast Asia's mightiest river. Construction of approach roads and buildings has already begun.

Vietnam and Cambodia last year proposed a 10-year moratorium on any dams on the Mekong. They expressed concern that the dam would kill fish and affect the livelihoods of millions of people living along river.

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