China will upgrade the channel of the Lancang-Mekong River, which runs through six Asian countries, to pave the way for cross-nation water transport.
The project is scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2003 at an estimated investment of 150 million yuan (US$18 million).
Springing from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Lancang-Mekong River runs through Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China with a total length of 4,880 km. Its lower reaches outside of China are known as the Mekong.
The dredging project covers a 158-km section from the minor Ganlanba in southwest China's Yunnan Province to the Number 243 Boundary Stone on the Sino-Myanmar border.
China has already finished dredging from the Number 243 Boundary Stone to Ban Houei Sai, a city on the border of Laos and Myanmar. Ships could not sail in the section for much of the year in the past due to rapids, sharp curves and shallow water in the dry season.
When the project is completed, it will make it possible for ships below 300 dwt to travel from China to other countries along the river all year round.
( Xinhua News Agency June 7, 2002)