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Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: Countries along the river enhance water resources collaboration

The Lancang-Mekong River has nurtured China and Southeast Asian nations, bringing them closer together. As the world faces frequent extreme weather, China is working to enhance cooperation with its neighbors for a better shared future. Yang Jinghao reports.

This is the Lancang River, originating in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in northwest China.

Traveling downstream, it's called the Mekong River in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Along the upstream section, several hydropower stations serve both China and neighboring countries.

YANG JINGHAO Jinghong, Yunnan Province "I'm here at the Jinghong Hydropower Station. Apart from generating a great deal of clean energy every year, it also plays an important role in helping the river's downstream countries cope with flooding or drought situations in different seasons."

Climate change is causing high temperatures and extreme droughts across the world. And the Lancang-Mekong river basin is no exception.

Data from the Jinghong hydropower station's operator shows that between November last year and May this year, the inflow to the station was 831 cubic meters per second, while it discharged as much as 1,431 cubic meters per second, some 72 percent higher than the natural flow.

ZHOU JIAN Vice President Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower Company "We regulate the reservoirs of our hydropower stations, so the outbound flow of the Jinghong station is always more than 800 cubic meters per second. It guarantees safe navigation in the downstream region all year round."

Meanwhile, China has been dedicated to information sharing. That allows the downstream countries to prepare for potential floods and droughts.

In 2003, China started to share water level and rainfall data from June to October, which is mainly recorded at two hydrological stations.

In November 2020, China expanded the sharing schedule by providing the year-round data. Officials hope for further water resources cooperation.

HAO ZHAO Secretary General Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center "I think we need to have more exchanges on techniques so we can know what kind of approach should be used to manage the droughts. This not only means policy, but also the techniques and equipment, so that people can best adapt to the conditions."

During a recent trip to related facilities along the Lancang, diplomats and students also voiced expectations for more exchanges.

ZIN MAR HTWE Charge d'Affaires, Myanmar Embassy in China "I wish to suggest the government of China to kindly provide more scholarships to the youth representatives from the Mekong member countries, because human capacity building is also one of the important matters for upgrading our water resources cooperation."

In a recent ministerial meeting in Myanmar, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China will enhance collaboration with its neighbors along the river in more areas including the digital economy, space and public health to create a better future for the people. YJH, CGTN, Yunnan Province.