After only a few months of studies, Laos claims that it has “addressed most of the concerns” of neighboring countries by redesigning the dam. Cambodian and Vietnamese leaders are unsure how to react. There are conflicting reports about whether the two governments will continue to oppose the project. Meanwhile, many of the donor governments that invested millions of dollars to promote diplomatic cooperation in the Lower Mekong region – such as Australia, Finland, Japan, and Germany – have not reacted to the latest news. Only the United States has expressed its concern that “the extent and severity of impacts from the Xayaburi dam on an ecosystem that provides food security and livelihoods for millions are still unknown.”
When world leaders gather again for ASEAN’s East Asia Summit on November 18th, it may be the last chance for concerned governments to take a strong stand.