Mekong countries welcome water sharing, construction assistance under LMC mechanism
Published: Sep 16, 2020 07:48 PM

The enforcement vessel from China, which is participating in the 88th joint patrol on the Mekong River led by China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, pulls out Guanlei Port in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, November 19, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Although the US has tried to provoke ASEAN countries against China, most officials and citizens in these countries are seemingly not willing to join the works.

Daw Than Than Htay, a member of Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies, told the Global Times that accusations against China are clearly coming from countries outside the Mekong River region, adding that China has always tried to regulate the Lancang River reservoirs to ensure downstream water demand during both dry seasons and floods.

When the southern part of Vietnam experienced severe drought and seawater flooding a few years ago, China immediately released water reserved in the upstream dams to aid Vietnam's relief efforts.

An official who prefers not to be named from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar also confirmed Myanmar's positive attitude to join the China-promoted Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism. Myanmar signed the memorandum of understanding on cooperation with China's Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center in 2019. The official expressed confidence in joining the scheme, stressing that Mekong River resource problems cannot be solved by one country alone. 

Khin Ma Ma Myo, a professor of international relations from The University of Rangoon, also suggested to the Global Times that Myanmar attaches more importance to the LMC "special fund projects," which are mainly targeted at projects urgently needed in the development of the six countries within the LMC. Myanmar's emergency repair on the Bagan Stupa has been included in this project.

Sommad Pholsena, Laos' Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, told the Global Times that it was China that timely released water from dams to the lower Mekong reaches in 2016, when the Mekong River countries encountered the worst drought in 100 years.

"China's [efforts] effectively alleviated the drought in the involved Mekong countries," Pholsena commented. 

The cooperation between Chinese and Laotian water and meteorological departments has also achieved remarkable results in these years, which has enhanced Laos' scientific and technological level in water and meteorology, as well as its abilities of responding to climate change and preventing and mitigating natural disasters, he said.

The statements of some US officials are groundless, said Thai newspaper Than Setthakit's editor-in-chief Chaiwat, noting that the cooperation between China and lower Mekong countries has a positive impact on these countries. 

China has kept maintaining close communication with countries in this area, making joint efforts in hydrologic information sharing and hydrologic collaboration against floods and droughts, Chaiwat said.