Lancang-Mekong countries reach new joint agreement on water resource info-sharing
Published: Sep 29, 2020 10:22 PM

Mekong River File photo:VCG

 China and the other five Mekong River countries reached an agreement on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to discuss China-proposed practical measures of sharing the Lancang River's hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries at the second virtual meeting of Joint Working Group (JWG) on Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation initiated by China on Thursday

The meeting also approved the Letter of Intent (LI) on the establishment of Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform (Platform) following Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's pledge on the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders' Meeting on August 24.

"The sustainability of water resources and the river basin is of vital importance to promote and safeguard sustainable economic and social development in our countries," said Yu Xingjun, head of the Chinese delegation and consul of the Department of International Cooperation, Science and Technology under China's Ministry of Water Resources. "Only with joint efforts, working together, and upholding the principles of mutual consultation, mutual participation and mutual benefits, can we accomplish the designated objectives in our cooperation on water resources and deliver tangible outcomes for the interests of our countries and the wellbeing of our people." 

Representatives from five Mekong River countries expressed appreciation of China's efforts and efficient mobilization to promote its commitment of sharing the whole year's hydrological data, and they valued information China provided for better coping with droughts and others disasters.

The information sharing under the Platform covers the entire Lancang-Mekong River basin, said the Letter of Intent the Global Times obtained. The letter said the platform is to provide reliable forecasting and early warning services related to floods and droughts, while serving as an exchange of experience and technologies for member countries.

The specific measures will be developed and complemented in close collaboration with the Mekong River Commission (MRC), it stressed in the principle.

This concerted effort among Lancang-Mekong countries to meet the natural challenges in the region has thwarted the US' long-standing desire to meddle in the Mekong water resource issue. The US Department of State on Friday returned to the same old tune, accusing China of a "cascade of mega dams, opaque water management practices, and unilateral alteration of water flow in the upstream portion of the Mekong River," even though this has been repeatedly refuted.

"We urge the US to stop its political manipulation and malicious slander, and do more practical things to protect the global environment instead of causing more trouble," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

"As for the MoU, we appreciate and thank the Chinese JWG and Chinese government for all the support [for the] benefits of people in the Lancang-Mekong River basin," Myanmar delegate Win Hlaing, Director General of Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems, Myanmar's Ministry of Transport and Communications, said at the meeting.

"The outcome of the MOU and LI are very amazing to make sure the instructions of our leaders are translated in to very concrete outcomes," said Vietnamese delegate Le Duc Trung, Director General of Viet Nam National Mekong Committee.

"From this successful result, we will thrive our commission to continue strengthening the cooperation for the significant progress of promoting our common and mutual benefits in the future," said Cambodian delegate Khlok Sam Ang, Director of Department of Planning and International Cooperation, Cambodia's Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, expressing optimism at the meeting.

"We are ready to cooperate with our member countries especially China to implement the joint action plan for the water resources management. We also would like to cooperate with the Changjiang water resources commission on the flood management and decision-supporting system," said Chanthanet Bualapha, Director General of Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat.

Thailand representative Tosapol Wongwan from Thailand's National Water Resources also voiced his support to establish the Platform, calling for more experience sharing among LMC members.