x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

China coordinates Mekong River patrol after spate of attacks

China says that security officials from China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos agree to "together organise and implement joint operations to attack severe public safety problems menacing security along the river".

Security officials from China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos have agreed to patrol the Mekong River.
Security officials from China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos have agreed to patrol the Mekong River.

BEIJING // China and other regional nations are to start coordinated patrols of the violence-plagued Mekong River this month, a Chinese ministry said.

The move follows a meeting that also agreed to let Beijing send advisers to Myanmar and Laos.

Thirteen Chinese sailors were killed on the river last month in an attack that Thai investigators believe may have been carried out by Thai state officials.

Their boats were attacked in the "Golden Triangle", where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, in a region notorious for drug smuggling.

Nine Thai soldiers later turned themselves in over the killings.

"It can be believed that Thai officers were involved," Sunai Julapongsathorn, the chairman of Thailand's lower house committee on foreign affairs, said yesterday.

China's ministry of public security yesterday said that security officials from China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos agreed at a meeting in Beijing to "together organise and implement joint operations to attack severe public safety problems menacing security along the river".

Beijing will send "expert support teams" to Laos and Myanmar if they request training help.

But, reflecting the territorial sensitivities involved in the joint operations, they will be "based on each country's legal jurisdictional powers and mutual respect for sovereignty and inequality".