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Vietnam wishes for Cambodia’s coordination in assessing Funan Techo Canal’s impacts

Vietnam wishes for Cambodia’s coordination in assessing Funan Techo Canal’s impacts

Monday, May 06, 2024, 21:03 GMT+7
Vietnam wishes for Cambodia’s coordination in assessing Funan Techo Canal’s impacts
Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Pham Thu Hang. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vietnam respects Cambodia’s legitimate interests in the Funan Techo Canal project and wishes that the neighbor continues working with Vietnam and other relevant countries to fully assess the project’s impacts, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

Spokeswoman for the foreign ministry Pham Thu Hang was speaking at a press meeting in Hanoi on Sunday in reply to reporters’ query about Vietnam’s response to Cambodia’s recent statements in relation to the US$1.7 billion Funan Techo Canal project, which was lately announced by the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

In its foreign policy, Vietnam always attaches importance and gives top priority to its relationship with Cambodia and hopes that their bilateral relations will increasingly develop substantially and effectively in all fields for the benefits of the two countries and peoples, Hang said.

In that spirit, Vietnam has always supported and highly valued the achievements gained by Cambodia over the past years.

Regarding the Funan Techo Canal project, Vietnam is highly interested in it and respects the legitimate interests of Cambodia in accordance with the 1995 Mekong Agreement, the prevailing regulations of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and the traditional and friendly neighborhood between the two countries.

“We hope that Cambodia will continue to coordinate closely with Vietnam and other countries in the commission to share information about this project and fully assess its impacts on water resources and the eco-environment of the Mekong sub-region,” the spokesperson stated.

Such sharing and assessment will help ensure a harmony of interests among the nations along the Mekong River, and manage and use water resources of the river effectively and sustainably, “for the sustainable development of the basin, the solidarity between riverine countries, and the future of next generations,” Hang explained.

An artist’s rendition of the Funan Techo canal project, released recently by the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Photo: Cambodian Government

An artist’s rendition of the Funan Techo Canal project, released recently by the Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Photo: Cambodian government

In recent times, Cambodian leaders have repeatedly mentioned the Funan Techo Canal, affirming that this project will bring benefits to the entire Cambodian people and showing their determination to implement it.

Last month, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet asserted that the canal project would benefit about 1.6 million people living along it and create many other benefits for national development, according to the Khmer Times.

The project is also expected to attract enterprises in various industries to the canal area, generating a lot of jobs for locals.

PM Manet also said that the Funan Techo Canal will be built by Chinese construction partners under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) method.

On April 28, Manet stressed that the canal project would not be exclusively for the benefit of his own family but for the welfare of all Cambodians. 

He also affirmed that no obstacles would deter the construction of the project, which had undergone thorough study for approximately 26 months. 

Most recently, Manet on May 1 announced that he knew that a U.S.-based opposition group was plotting to thwart the canal project. 

“Yesterday, I received information that a group in the U.S. planned among themselves to create a mechanism to reject the Funan Techo canal,” the Khmer Times quoted the PM as saying to civil servants, workers, and employees at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Preah Sihanouk Province.

However, Manet underscored that such a plot is “a wrong move” and will not be successful since “millions of people all over the country, young and old, give their support because they know the value of this project.”

According to Cambodian media, the canal is expected to be 180km long, connecting the Phnom Penh river port with the Gulf of Thailand, off Cambodia's southwest coast. 

According to its design, this canal will be 100 meters wide upstream, 80 meters wide downstream, and 5.4 meters deep upon completion.

The complete canal will pass through Kandal, Takeo, Kampot, and Kep Provinces.

Construction is expected to start in late 2024, entailing an estimated cost of about $1.7 billion.

Last month, AFP cited Cambodian officials as saying that the canal will be constructed with Chinese funding.

As shown in the canal-related materials submitted by Cambodia to the MRC in August 2023, the waterway will begin operating in 2028.

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Vinh Tho - Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre News

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