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China readies armed patrols of Mekong River

By Zhang Yan and Cui Haipei (China Daily)

10:49, November 09, 2011


Relatives of the 13 Chinese crew who were murdered on two cargo ships on the Mekong River on Oct 5 arrive on Nov 6 in Thailand's Chiang Rai, where their deceased family members are to be cremated. (China Daily Photo)

BEIJING - Starting next month, China and its Southeast Asian neighbors will begin sending armed patrols along the Mekong River, where 13 Chinese crew members were murdered this past month, the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday.

China's contribution to the patrols will come from a special armed force established under the Yunnan Provincial Border Control Corps, Cheng Jun, the press officer from the ministry's border control bureau, said.

Fang Youguo, secretary-general of the Lancang River Shipowners' Association of the autonomous prefecture Xishuangbanna, whose vessels use the Mekong River, which is called the Lancang River in China, said the force will consist of nearly 1,000 armed police officers.

China will send five patrol vessels, adapted from merchant ships, along the waters of the Mekong River. Shipping on the waterway came to a standstill after the Chinese sailors were killed there on Oct 5. Commercial traffic is to resume on the river at the end of the month, Fang said.

The Chinese patrol force will escort both Chinese ships and those that are under other flags, Yang Xi, the press officer from Yunnan Provincial Border Control Corps, said on Tuesday.

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