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Trust in Lancang-Mekong nations required, China says

By WANG QINGYUN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-31 09:18
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Countries in the region need to trust one another and carry out practical work to proceed with their cooperation over water resources of the Lancang-Mekong River, said a spokesman with China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

"They don't need indiscreet criticism or having a wedge driven in between them," spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing, in response to the accusation by the United States' Mekong Dam Monitor of China's dams "threatening" lower stream countries over the years.

Noting that Chinese experts have found errors in the data that MDM released, Wang said the errors are highly likely to brew misconceptions that China's dams control the river's waters, and support false claims that they have caused droughts in Southeast Asian countries.

The experts found that reservoir level readings released by the program, which is funded by the US State Department, were full of serious errors, reported the Global Times earlier this month.

MDM later corrected the data, but experts said the reading "still has an error of up to 8 meters from the actual water level measurement, for example at the time point of April 8, 2020", reported the Global Times.

"I hope the US will fully respect the efforts countries along the river have made to promote sustainable utilization of water resources, and do more to promote regional economic and social development," Wang said.

He said the international academic community and the Mekong River Commission have already acknowledged the role of the dams on the upper reaches of the Lancang-Mekong River, known as the Lancang River in China and the Mekong River in the other five countries it flows through.

The commission said in a report that Chinese dams influence water flows by "reducing the flow during the wet season and increasing it during the dry season".

Hydrologic information

China began to provide year-round hydrologic information of the Lancang River to the commission and countries in the lower reaches in November 2020, contributing to residents to share water resources and working together to tackle floods, Wang said.

China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam-countries in the river's reaches-established the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism in March 2016.

The cooperation has developed rapidly over the past six years and has become the most dynamic and promising subregional cooperation, said Wang earlier this month.

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