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English>>Foreign Affairs

Thailand, Vietnam hail China releasing water for drought-hit Mekong countries

(Xinhua)    11:26, March 19, 2016
Thailand, Vietnam hail China releasing water for drought-hit Mekong countries

BANGKOG, March 19 -- Thailand and Vietnam have hailed China releasing water for drought-hit Mekong countries.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Friday said he was happy to see China release water to help alleviate drought in Thailand, noting the water supply has already reached northern Thailand.

While visiting drought-hit Udontani Province in northern Thailand, the prime minister hailed China's decision to discharge water from a dam to the lower reaches of the Mekong River to help alleviate drought conditions in Southeast Asia.

Thailand is suffering the worst drought in two decades, with water levels in the country's big dams at their lowest since 1994, and drought disaster zones have been declared in 46 districts of 12 provinces.

Meanwhile, a Vietnamese expert said that China releasing water for Mekong River is a cooperative move.

"China's releasing water in Mekong River is a cooperative move," Pham Hong Giang, President of Vietnam National Committee on Large Dams and Water Resources Development, former Deputy Minister of Vietnam's Agriculture and Rural Development, told Xinhua by phone.

Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Lu Kang announced in a regular news briefing on Tuesday that China will release emergency water supply from Jinghong Hydropower Station in southwest China's Yunnan Province to downstream Mekong River from March 15 to April 10.

"The distance from Jinghong Hydropower Station to Vietnam's Mekong River Delta is very long," the Vietnamese expert said, adding that there are many dry areas in need of water on the way to Vietnam's Mekong River Delta.

"When water reach Vietnam's Mekong River Delta, the drought will be partially allieviated," Giang said.

Mekong River originates in China and runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is known as Lancang in the Chinese stretch.

China and the five countries along the Mekong are friendly neighbors and assistance like this is natural, Lu said.

Since late 2015, countries along the Lancang-Mekong River have suffered from drought to varying extents due to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon, the spokesperson said, adding the situation has worsened recently and threatens people's livelihoods.

"In order to accommodate the concerns of countries at the lower reach of the Mekong River, the Chinese government decides to overcome its own difficulties to offer emergency water flows," Lu said.

He said water resources cooperation is an important component of the cooperation mechanism being worked on by China and other Mekong River countries.

"China is willing to enhance coordination and practical cooperation with related countries in accordance with the mechanism in water resources management and disaster response to benefit the people in the region," the spokesperson said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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