This lecture evaluates the evolving patterns of cooperation between China and the downstream countries - Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia - in the Mekong River Basin since the 1990s. Particular attention is paid to socio-economic benefits in the river basin, which has played a pivotal role in facilitating cooperation beyond controversial hydropower dam debates. As analytical framework, the benefit sharing approach is deployed, which highlights the on-going engagement of China with the lower riparian countries in order to tap into the enlarged basket of benefits. Having reviewed controversy centered around China's unilateral dam building, the lecture introduces the case of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) program that was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992. China has been taking an active part in the project in the fields of energy and transport. Recently, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism was initiated by China, which may accelerate cooperation between the riparian countries beyond hydropower and water issues.
Jun 01, 2016 | 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM