China: Joint Efforts With Neighbors Check Mekong River Pirates

Posted March 13th, 2012 at 5:35 am (UTC-5)
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A Chinese official says security on the Mekong River has substantially improved as a result of cooperation with three of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

The China Daily newspaper on Tuesday quotes Meng Sutie, director of the public security department in Yunnan province, as saying river pirates have been able to mount only occasional and isolated attacks since the cooperation began late last year.

Meng says China, Laos, Burma and Thailand are working together on joint patrols, armed escorts and intelligence sharing along the river, where 13 Chinese crewmen were killed in an attack last year. He said the countries are also cooperating to attack armed factions and drug gangs in the Golden Triangle region of the river.

Chinese shipping on the river was halted for two months following the attack in October, which was carried out by suspected drug traffickers.

Thailand subsequently arrested nine soldiers who were suspected of killing the Chinese sailors and were also thought to have links with a Burmese drug kingpin.

The Mekong River flows through China's southwestern province of Yunnan into Southeast Asia, serving as a major trade route through several countries including Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.