Philip Ruddock, who served as Australia’s immigration minister between 1996 and 2003 and now serves as the government’s chief parliamentary whip, has described Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government as a “one-party state,” and said that Australia is concerned about the shooting deaths of five strike protesters in January.
The chairman of the Chinese company whose subsidiary will construct the Lower Sesan 2 dam met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday to inform him that the dam would be completed in three years’ time, Mr. Hun Sen’s assistant said.
Zhang Tingke, vice president of state-owned utility provider China Huaneng Group, told Mr. Hun Sen that he was in Cambodia to meet with local partners, including Ang & Associates Lawyer Co. Ltd., owned by tycoon Kith Meng, to start building the dam, Eang Sophalleth, Mr. Hun Sen’s personal assistant, told reporters after the meeting.
“He [Zhang Tingke] is visiting Cambodia to cooperate with Ang & Associates Lawyer group to build a hydropower dam and produce electricity at the Lower Sesan 2,” Mr. Sophalleth said.
“He also informed Samdech Prime Minister that this cooperation will push this the Lower Sesan 2 project forward so that electricity will be produced in 2017,” he said, adding that Mr. Hun Sen welcomed the company’s efforts. “Samdech Prime Minister welcomed China Huaneng Group and said that Chinese investments rely on the good relationship between Cambodia and China,” Mr. Sophalleth said after the meeting at the Peace Palace on Wednesday.
Despite environmental concerns by NGOs, Mr. Tingke said that Hydrolancang International Energy, the subsidiary of Huaneng, would avoid damaging the environment and people’s livelihoods.
However, the $781 million project in Stung Treng province is expected to displace more than 5,000 residents, impact the livelihoods of more than 100,000 and cause a drop of fish stock by nine percent for the entire Mekong basin, according to scientists.
(Additional reporting by Denise Hruby)
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