Vietnam lacks information to assess impact of Cambodia's Funan Techo canal

By Thanh Tam, Huyen Le   May 9, 2024 | 06:04 am PT
Vietnam lacks information to assess impact of Cambodia's Funan Techo canal
A section of the Mekong River in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 1, 2024. Photo by AFP
Vietnam on Thursday said there is insufficient information to assess the impact of the Funan Techo canal project in the Mekong River, and requested Cambodia to fully share it.

"The information we have about the Funan Techo canal project is not sufficient to specifically assess the impact level of the project," spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Thu Hang said in a press meet.

She was responding to a Tuesday statement by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chanthol, who said Cambodia has informed the Mekong River Commission (MRC) about the project, but would not consult the matter with other countries in the region.

If requested, Cambodia would provide more information to MRC, but it has no legal obligation to do so, he said.

Hang said Vietnam hopes Cambodia would continue to cooperate with other countries in the Mekong Sub-region, fully share information on the canal project and perform detailed assessment on its impact on the water resources and the ecosystem in the area, ensuring the harmonized interests of riverine nations and managing the water resources of the Mekong River effectively and sustainably.

The Funan Techon canal project, approved by the Cambodian Cabinet in May 2023, connects the Phnom Penh river port with the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest of Cambodia. The canal is expected to begin operation starting 2028, according to documents submitted by Cambodia to the MRC in August 2023.

The project is expected to cost an estimated $1.7 billion, and be built by Chinese businesses under a Build-Operate-Transfer model.

In accordance with the Mekong Agreement in 1995, projects that affect the main flow of the Mekong River must be "technically evaluated" by the MRC, and receive feedback from its member countries, including Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Sun said the project has minimal impact on the environment.

He said about 33% of cargo to and from Cambodia use Vietnamese ports for their global trade by sending them through the Mekong River, and the canal project aims to reduce that to 10%.

go to top