Asia: Rallying Round the River

In a scorching, scrub-covered valley in northeast Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej this week will dedicate a $28.4 million dam across a tributary of the mighty Mekong River. Part of an ambitious, internationally financed effort to convert the Mekong's 2,625 miles of untamed torrent into a source of prosperity, the Nam Pong dam will not only store irrigation water for Thai farms but will provide electric power for both Thailand and neighboring Laos, part of it over jointly owned trans mission lines.

Such across-the-border cooperation has up to now largely eluded the na tions of Asia, and the dam symbolizes a...

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