New patrols to start along Mekong River

Updated: 2011-11-27 07:46

(China Daily)

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BEIJING - Joint police patrols along the Mekong River will kick off in mid December to restore security after a deadly attack to Chinese ships in October.

Chinese police will start patrols along the river with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, said a statement from the Ministry of Public Security on Saturday.

No exact date was given, but the first joint patrol will be carried out before Dec 15, said the statement, issued after a ministerial meeting of four countries held in Beijing.

Police from the four countries will work together to restore shipping and guarantee security along the river, the statement said.

Headquarters for the initiative will be set up in China and there will be a coordinating office in each of the other three countries. They will be able to communicate round-the-clock, it said.

China will assist Laos and Myanmar police in terms of training and equipment, the statement said.

Police departments of the four countries will also set up a coordination team to work out more security measures along the Mekong River, it added.

Shipping on the Mekong River has been suspended since two cargo ships were attacked by Thai military personnel on Oct 5, resulting in the murder of 13 Chinese sailors.

The suspected Thai solders, including a major and a lieutenant, were servicemen of the Third Military Command of the Thai army, which guards the country's northern border.

The Chinese sailors were killed in the "Golden Triangle" area, where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet.

The 4,880-km-long Mekong River, which runs through the four countries as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, served as a major trade route for the countries and the China-ASEAN free trade zone.


(China Daily 11/27/2011 page2)