CHINA IS PROPOSING that Laos contributes to the cost of damming the upper Mekong river, as the project could help relieve annual floods which devastate Laos.

Each year the Mekong river bursts its banks with greater force than the year before, but flooding could be relieved by the 300m high Xiaowan dam planned for China’s Yunnan province. China is asking for Laos to help finance the project, but David Jezeph, chief of Water and Mineral Resources at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific said that countries in the lower Mekong basin are concerned that China could exert too much power over water resources.