China has reached a landmark agreement with its Southeast Asian neighbors on oil shipping along the Mekong River.
The agreement with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand will see a trial program of processed oil shipping from May to December, said a maritime affairs official of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The river rises on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to the South China Sea. It is called Lancang River in China.
The cooperation framework for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) allows a monthly quota of 1,200 tons of oil to be shipped on the river, said Qiao Xinmin, director of the Maritime Affairs Bureau of the Lancang River.
The agreement is expected to provide China with an alternative to the Strait of Malacca as a route for oil shipping, he said.
China and Thailand will set up a joint emergency response team to ensure safety on the river.
The four countries also agreed to implement uniform charges on cargo vessels.