Slow progress and Chinese dams a problem
China insists on constructing more dams along the Mekong
River in its territory, although this will cause shallows and slow the flow
in countries in the lower sections of the river.
Chaimongkol, head of the Economic Relations Promotion Division in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ International Economy Department.
China claims that it must construct at least 10 dams,
said Siriporn Chaimongkol, head of the Economic Relations Promotion Division
in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ International Economy Department.
She said the countries affected will have to negotiate
with China, asking for a halt to the construction because of the negative
impact on their surroundings and environment.
Siriporn was speaking at the "Economy and
Investments in the Countries located along the Greater Mekong Sub-region
(GMS)" seminar on, arranged by Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of
Economy and the GMS Integrated Development Project, on June 17.
The development projects dealing with information
technology, the economy, investment and trade in the sub-region located
along the Mekong River affect Thailand and the neighboring countries of
China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Ajarn Anek Nimmolrat of the Faculty of Economics said,
"They need to be familiar with the relevant facts on the economy and
investment in this sub-region and be ready to compete with economic rivals
in the future." Siriporn, the Foreign Affairs Ministry official said
cooperation was essential. "The problem seems to be the lack of
technology in our neighboring countries - that is what is obstructing
growth," she continued. "The GMS development plan was initiated in
1992, but it is still very slow going. However, Thailand has made great
strides and can help its neighbors. Investment means more jobs, and this GMS
cooperation is aimed at attracting more foreign investment in technology
transfer and natural resource utilization," Siriporn noted.
She said that it seemed that the major developments at
present concerned tourism, communications and transportation schemes.
"Good cooperation can help boost good development and Thailand is
pleased to be seen as their partners, not only a donor country."
Dr Somphob Manarangsarn, a specialist at the China
Studies Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, added that the
Quadrangle Economic Cooperation Plan, which can be implemented in the GMS
area, offered further opportunities.
He said southern China’s Kwangsi province and Naming
and Kunming in Yunnan province that have port facilities, railways links and
other infrastructure, are getting ready for investment, trade and services.
However, he noted that he has received many complaints
from the Yunnan delegation that the Quadrangle Economic Cooperation Plan has
not worked out well, even though it was initiated several years ago.
Dr. Somphob said Mainland China was a very outstanding
location because there are many opportunities for Thailand and other
countries to invest there. "China is developing economically more
quickly than Thailand, but is welcoming more foreign investment all the
time," he observed.