Nothing that influences the future of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta induces more angst than the hydroelectric dam projects on the mainstream of the Mekong, upriver from the Delta. A handful of Vietnamese experts have been sounding the alarm for years. That hasn’t translated to effective diplomacy by the government in Hanoi, which may have concluded — perhaps correctly — that resistance is futile.
Public policy analysts at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based thinktank, concluded after conversations with Chinese bankers and construction company executives in mid-2015 that these, too, have become increasingly wary of risks, and more inclined to resist Chinese government pressures to finance dam construction on the Mekong. Finally, the Lao government is simply unable to guarantee the investments that it hopes will make Laos “the battery of Southeast Asia.”
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