Mekong River: Emerging Geopolitics and Challenges to Environment
Mekong river is a transboundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Mekong originates in Tibetan Plateau and flows downstream through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is considered to be one of the most fertile rivers in the world and has resulted in these countries being known as the "Rice Bowl of South East Asia." Mekong is thus Asia's most strategically important transboundary waterways and is a major trade route between western China and Southeast Asia. China has been the main player in the Mekong River issues: it has also been accused of "weaponization of water"; pursuing aggressively its BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) infrastructural projects in the region luring the countries of the region; pushing smaller neighbours in the region into debt-trap through loaning them for infrastructure projects; and using water as a geopolitical tool to create a favourable geopolitical balance for itself.