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China launches river patrol with neighbors

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Unread 12.10.11, 07:29 PM
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China launches river patrol with neighbors

12.10.11 08:15 AM

JINGHONG, China, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Chinese police Saturday began joint patrols of the Mekong River with neighboring countries.

China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand have joined together in an effort to maintain security along the Mekong River, a major transport passage in the region, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported.

The Mekong River plays a crucial economic role throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion and China, and is one of the key transport passages through the China-ASEAN free trade zone.

However, the smuggling of drugs, weapons and ammunition, and attacks on boats on the river have dramatically increased in recent years, the report said.

"With the protection, the resumption is a new starting point for the international shipping of the Mekong River," said He Jingtao, vice director of Xishuangbanna's maritime bureau.

"It will bring bright prospects for economic growth and people's exchanges in countries along the river and make the river a golden international waterway that is really safe, peaceful and friendly," he said.

The four countries reached the decision to implement a security patrol on the river in October, two weeks after two cargo ships were attacked on the river, leaving 13 Chinese sailors dead.

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