Salween (Thanlwin) River

   One of Burma's major river systems, which flows in a north-south direction and bisects Shan State. Its headwaters are located in Tibet, and its length inside of Burma is 1,600 kilometers. The Salween empties into the Gulf of Martaban (Mottama) at Moulmein (Mawlamyine). Territories located east of the river in Shan State, especially Kokang and the Wa districts, have traditionally enjoyed great independence from the central government in Rangoon (Yangon) and have been major producers of opium and other narcotics. Unlike the Irrawaddy, the turbulent Salween is navigable for only very short stretches and until recently has played a negligible role in the country's economy. However, in recent years, there have been proposals to dam the river to generate hydroelectric power and facilitate navigation. This is highly controversial because the Salween is one of the last major unexploited rivers in Southeast Asia, and damming its upper reaches would have a negative environmental impact on areas where Shans and other ethnic minorities live.
   See also Mekong River.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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