Phnom Penh (The Straits Times), Jun. 12 – The AFP article “Cambodia to begin work on controversial canal in August: PM” (May 30) contains inaccurate allegations on what the Funan Techo integrated water resources management project will be used for and its impact on the environment, while failing to mention any of the significant benefits it will bring to the people, economy and environment of Cambodia and beyond.

The Funan Techo Canal is an ambitious initiative aimed at enhancing Cambodia’s logistics capabilities and economic independence. It is designed solely for civilian use, with no intention or plan to accommodate military vessels.

Under Article 53 of Cambodia’s Constitution, foreign military bases are prohibited on Cambodian territory, ensuring that the canal will not be used for military purposes.

Comprehensive environmental impact assessments, conducted with 48 international specialists, ensure that the canal will not adversely affect the Mekong River.

Hydrological models predict only a 0.06 per cent impact on the Mekong River’s daily outflow during the dry season, and no impact during the flood season.

The project will create new natural habitats and protect against saltwater intrusion, preserving the Mekong Delta’s biodiversity.

By providing a direct waterway link between Phnom Penh and the coastal province of Kep, the canal will enhance Cambodia’s trade efficiency, create jobs, spur industrial development, boost tourism, improve irrigation capabilities, and attract foreign direct investment.

These benefits will transform Cambodia’s economic landscape, positioning it as a significant logistics hub in the region.

Sun Chanthol
Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia
First Vice-Chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia