MFA Welcomes China’s Initiative in Tackling Mekong Issues

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is set to attend a summit on Mekong River with China and five other riparian countries next week, the foreign ministry said Friday.

The 3rd Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Summit will be held entirely online on Monday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ministry diplomat Nikorndej Balankura told reporters at a news conference. The meeting will focus on water management in the wake of allegations that China was restricting water flow to downriver countries.

“We welcome China’s initiatives,” Nikorndej said. “China has expressed its political will to tackle the problems.”

He said Thailand will propose a new database to monitor water level and quality in the Mekong, in order to promote transparency in information.

The Chinese side will be expected to accede to a proposal to enhance economic and public health cooperation with downstream countries, Nikorndej added.

Several reports accused China of using its upstream dam to control the flow of the Mekong, known in Chinese as the Lancang, which resulted in severe drought in Thailand.

A report published earlier this year by the U.S.-funded Stimson Center said China’s dam management is causing erratic and devastating changes in water levels down stream.

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