Since then, the project has been implemented in sections of the Mekong River in China, Myanmar and along the Lao border to the Thai border of the Golden Triangle. After sustained local campaigns, the project took on a series of twists and turns. In late 2017, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai announced that China had decided to withdraw from its rapid explosion plan and acknowledged that the project would harm communities along the river. Three other dams will be built on the lower course of the river in neighboring Laos, including the Pak Beng Dam, proposed for development by a Chinese company via the Mekong River in Oudomxay, just 90 km from the Thai border. Another is the Luang Prabang Dam, proposed by Vietnamese and Thai developers, which is currently completing the Mekong River Commission`s regional pre-consultation procedure. The Rapids Blasting project is therefore part of a much larger plan for the Mekong River, which would transform the river from a vital aquatic crossroads only competing with the Amazon into an industrial corridor where transnational corporations benefit local livelihoods and the waterway`s biodiversity at an astonishing cost. But for Thai communities living along the Mekong River and local organizations such as the Chiang Khong Conservation Group, the project has raised serious concerns about threats to the river ecosystem, critical fishing grounds and breeding sites, as well as local livelihoods and culture. Funded by the Chinese government, the Upper Mekong Navigation Improvement Project is part of an extensive program that allows large ships to sail freely on the Mekong River between China and Laos. The first phase of the project would destroy 11 large rapids and 10 reefs along the Mekong River, from the Sino-Burmese border to Ban Houayxai in Laos.