International shipping movements on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia have restarted under armed escort after the killing of 12 Chinese sailors in early October spurred the shutdown of the waterway.
Two hundred Chinese border police and 100 policemen from Myanmar, Laos and Thailand on Saturday escorted a convoy of 10 Chinese cargo ships departing Guanlei. The river is a major trading route linking China’s southwestern province of Yunnan to the South China Sea via Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Some analysts see the joint security action as the latest sign of China using its military might to influence neighboring economies.
Two Chinese cargo vessels and their crew of a dozen were attacked Oct. 5 on a section of the river south of China’s border in Thailand. The region, known as the Golden Triangle, is notorious for opium production and smuggling.
Nine Thai soldiers suspected of links to a Myanmar drugs baron have been arrested and accused of committing the murders.
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