China to help alleviate drought along Mekong

Updated: 2016-03-16 06:35

By Wang Qingyun(China Daily)

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China to help alleviate drought along Mekong

The Jinghong Hydropower Station will increase water discharges to ease effects of a regional drought. [Photo by Yang Zheng/China Daily]

China will provide an emergency water supply to countries along the Mekong River to help deal with drought, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

A hydropower station in South China's Yunnan province will make the emergency supply available to the lower reaches of the river through April 10, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced at a news conference in Beijing.

China and countries along the river on the Indochinese Peninsula are "friendly neighbors", and they should help each other to cope with difficulties, said Lu, referring to the drought that countries along the river have faced since the end of last year.

Reports quoted the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam as saying the country, which is in the lower reaches of the Mekong River, has requested that China increase water discharges by the Jinghong Hydropower Station to help ease the drought.

The Mekong River, whose upper part is known in China as the Lancang River, is an important water source for the five countries on the Indochinese Peninsula-Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Lu said China has decided to "overcome its own difficulties" and to provide the emergency water supply to benefit the five countries.

China is willing to strengthen communication and practical cooperation with its neighbors on the management of water resources and disaster response under the Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation Mechanism, he added.

China and the five countries set up the cooperation mechanism when their foreign ministers met in Yunnan in November. In a joint statement, all the foreign ministers promised to promote cooperation on water resources.

Li Zhifei, a researcher at the National Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the move to provide an emergency water supply "is a good indication" that China has always taken on the responsibility of a large country by considering and protecting the interests of the countries on the lower reaches of the Mekong River.

Xu Wei contributed to this story.