China Unveils Early Warning and Data Sharing Website to Cooperate with Mekong River Countries
China made good on its promise to share year-round hydrological data on upper reaches of the Mekong River with the kickoff of an online information sharing platform on Monday. The platform aims to provide reliable forecasting and early warning services related to floods and droughts.
China extended its sharing to all five downstream countries - Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia - from November 1st. The data was mainly collected by two key hydrological stations located on the upper Mekong basin at Yunjinghong and on a tributary river at Manan.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang noted in August that China will work with other Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) countries to establish a Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform to better tackle climate change and natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
The platform came on a difficult time when, by the end of 2019 and early 2020, the Lancang-Mekong river basin registered escalated floods and intense droughts, triggered by climate change.
This is a major step taken by China that fully demonstrates the country's goodwill and sincerity as a responsible upstream neighbor. China is taking full account of the needs of flood control and disaster mitigation in the Mekong countries, E Jingping, minister of China's Water Resources, said at the inauguration of the website held in Beijing. Senior diplomats from Mekong river countries were also present during the announcement..
"The water ministries of the six member countries could fully use this website to accelerate the establishment of an information sharing platform, so as to promptly realize the comprehensive sharing of data, information, knowledge, experience and technology in the field of water resources," said minister E.
"As the cooperation mechanisms on water resources have been fast tracked, we need to establish an information sharing platform, which will help us better tackle climate change and natural disasters," Myanmar Ambassador to China, U Myo Thant Pe, said during the inauguration ceremony.
Ambassador U Myo Thant Pe hailed China's contribution and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to Mekong countries including Myanmar. During his visit to the 17th China-ASEAB EXPO held in Nanning over the weekend, he referred to the Lancang-Mekong sharing platform as a very "famous and successful mechanism".
Chinese vice foreign minister, Luo Zhaohui, called for closer ties between riparian countries to counter challenges and disturbance brought by outside powers.
"For political purposes, some countries outside the region have repeatedly used the Mekong water resources issue to spread rumors and stir up trouble, alienating all parties and undermining sub-regional cooperation. The Mekong Subregion is a stage for common development, not a product of geopolitics. China will work with Mekong countries to enhance strategic mutual trust, pursue win-win cooperation and jointly build and safeguard our common home," Luo said at the ceremony.
Mekong River File photo:VCG