• In September 2020, the United States and the five lower Mekong nations (Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos) launched a new framework for multilateral cooperation amid rising concerns about China’s expanding influence in mainland Southeast Asia.

Webcast: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, & China (Mekong  Region) Recovery Update, 2nd of 2

  • The Mekong-U.S. partnership aims to “improve transparency, good governance, connectivity, and sustainable development” in the region. It also intends to “strengthen regional connectivity” and “to identify and implement solutions for key regional challenges.”
  • The announcement comes amid particular concern about Beijing’s cascade of dams on the upper Mekong, known in China as the Lancang, which has been blamed for contributing to a record period of drought in the downstream countries.
  • Beginning high up in the Tibetan Plateau inside China, the Mekong River winds its way through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before spilling into the South China Sea.
  • It forms part of the international border between Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, as well as between Laos and Thailand.