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China to play vital role in development of Lancang-Mekong cooperation framework: Vietnamese expert

Under the China-proposed Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation framework, “I really hope that there will be a broader forum for discussion about co-management and equitable use of water in the region,” a Vietnamese expert said.

Trinh Le Nguyen, executive director of People and Nature Reconciliation, a Vietnamese not-for-profit organization, made the remark in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in the capital Hanoi on Tuesday.

According to Nguyen, “In 1995, countries in the Mekong Basin tried to set up the Mekong River Commission (MRC) under the Mekong agreement,” but China was not part of that as the MRC was only for lower Mekong countries.

China has been a dialogue partner with the MRC since 1995, the expert said, adding that the MRC has limitations as it only involves lower Mekong states, but now China has come with a new initiative.

“It’s time for China to take a more proactive role in the Mekong River’s water management.”

Despite the mechanism still being in an early stage, attention has been paid to the development of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework as well as ongoing discussions, Nguyen told Xinhua.

“In the near future, we hope we will see more discussions on benefit sharing, co-management, and shared governances of Mekong water,” Nguyen suggested.

Concerning the role of the Lancang-Mekong mechanism in boosting construction of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community, Nguyen said that “China is a big development partner of ASEAN.”

“With or without the Lancang-Mekong mechanism, China still plays a vital role,” Nguyen told Xinhua.

The Lancang-Mekong River runs through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and serves as a natural bond that links the six countries together.

The first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation foreign ministers’ meeting was held in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, on Nov. 12, 2015. The framework was proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang a year earlier in November 2014 when he attended the 17th China-ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. 

Source: Xinhua

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