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Chinese dams ramp up Lao external debt

Analysts predict increasing difficulty with mounting loans from China

Many hydropower projects being built on Mekong with funds loaned from China. (Getty Images)

BANGKOK -- In its rush to become the "battery" of Southeast Asia, Laos is accepting more Chinese loans to build dams, ensuring the already debt-strapped country falls ever deeper into China's pocket. 

The landlocked country's latest dam project is the groundwork for the $2.1 billion Pak Lay hydropower scheme on the Mekong. It is being built by  state-owned Power China Resources, a leader in dam construction, and financed with a $1.7 billion loan from China's Export-Import Bank.

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