Cambodian Senate president Hun Sen has received the support of Laos head of state Thongloun Sisoulith for the Kingdom’s Funan Techo Canal project, noting that the canal will not pose any environmental impact or affect the water flow of the Mekong River.

Hun Sen met with president Sisoulith on April 23, during day one of the latter’s official two-day visit to Cambodia, according to Hun Sen’s social media channel.

“The canal will provide a connection between the Bassac River and Cambodia’s coastline. The Laos head of state shared his support for this large project,” said the post.

The 180km waterway will link Prek Takeo of the Mekong River System to the Prek Ta Ek and Prek Ta Hing of the Bassac River System, and onto Kep province, crossing Kandal, Takeo and Kampot provinces.

The project will include three dams with sluices, 11 bridges and 208km of roads on either side of the waterway.

It is expected to take four years to complete, at an estimated cost of $1.7 billion.

In March, Hun Sen also sought China’s support for the project as he met with Zhao Leji, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, in China’s Hainan province, as he attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024.

According to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s website, construction is set to kick off at the end of this year.

Some media have reported that concerns have been raised about the canal’s possible effects on the flow of water across the Mekong Basin, particularly in Vietnam, which is located downstream from Cambodia.

The support of the president of Laos, another member of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), is expected to assuage any potential fears about the environmental impact of the project among regional countries.