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Mekong nears tipping point as US-China rivalry grows

Difficult choices ahead as drought takes hold in downstream countries

| China

The Mekong River, which originates on the Tibetan Plateau and flows nearly 5,000 km through China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to the South China Sea, is in danger of drying up. The five downstream countries must act now to defend their collective interests or risk ceding control of the river to China, which controls the headwaters.

The downstream countries are experiencing a major drought that threatens fisheries and agricultural production throughout the river basin. Over the past two months, most portions of the Mekong system have recorded historically low water levels.

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