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China Voice: Joint patrol along Mekong River sets new model of regional cooperation

(Xinhua)

08:21, December 14, 2011

Chinese police officers guard on vessel serving to escort commercial shipments along the Mekong River, Dec. 13, 2011.(Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- As the first joint escort mission along the Mekong River successfully concluded on Tuesday, China had found a new way of conducting regional law enforcement cooperation with its neighbors.

The first escort voyage started Saturday morning and ended on Tuesday afternoon, when three Chinese armed police vessels returned safely to their home port of Guanlei, in southwest China's Yunnan province.

Earlier Tuesday, the police vessels from the three partner countries, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, had also returned to their home ports.

During the first joint patrol, 10 commercial ships were safely escorted to their destination in Thailand, marking the full restoration of international shipping services on the Mekong River, which had been suspended for weeks after the deadly attacks on two Chinese cargo ships on Oct. 5.

The murder of the 13 Chinese crewmen on the river shocked the public and underscored the urgency to improve the security in the troubled but significant waterway.

The 4,880-km-long Mekong River, a "Golden Channel" linking Cambodia, Vietnam and the four countries, has served as a major trade route for the countries and the China-ASEAN free trade zone.

The river, however, has in recent years witnessed an increase in extortion, robbery, human trafficking and drug smuggling, especially in the notorious Golden Triangle area.

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