GT Voice: US geopolitical gimmick to interfere in Mekong is doomed

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Source: Global Times

A view of the Mekong River. Photo: VCG

The Trump administration is obsessed with hyping up the Lancang-Mekong River water resource issues, but fails to realize its position of utter flagrancy and arrogance will only be a burden for regional players.

The US-backed Mekong Dam Monitor will be launched on Tuesday, which reportedly aims to use American satellites to monitor and publish water levels at Chinese-built dams on the Lancang-Mekong River, according to media reports.

Given the Trump administration’s foray to Southeast Asian countries, the new US program is clearly another US government attempt to sow discord between Lancang-Mekong River regional countries in order to disrupt China’s partnership with its neighbors to the southeast.

As a country far-flung from this region, the US government has no credible reason to intervene in water resource issues in the region, but it seems determined to sabotage the good-will cooperation among the Lancang-Mekong regional countries, which is already laid bare in front of all regional countries.

The trans-boundary MeKong River which runs through Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam is called Lancang River in China, where it originates. Trans-boundary rivers have traditionally been conflict-prone areas, but thanks to joint efforts by all Lancang-Mekong River countries, the river has become a valuable shared resource.

The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism is recognized as a successful model for water resource cooperation in trans-boundary rivers. Both the Mekong River Commission and the global scientific community acknowledged that China’s cascade dams on the upper Mekong River help to maintain the steady flow of the Mekong, which plays a beneficial role for downstream countries in terms of flood control and drought relief.

In recent years, China and downstream countries have made substantial progress in the Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation, despite noise and interference from outside forces.

Over the past decades, China has maintained amicable and close communication with Mekong downstream countries in hydropower development, flood forecasting and hydrological information sharing. In November, China started sharing with Mekong River countries the annual hydrological information of the Lancang River, enhancing information transparency and cooperation among the countries.

Lancang-Mekong cooperation has now expanded from the original water resources to the economic field, and the regional economic cooperation has also boosted social and economic development of all the downstream countries. Now China is a main trade and investment partner in this region and the economic partnership between China and downstream countries has also become an important part of the Asian industrial chain.

Against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the US and China, it’s clear the Trump administration has dubious motives in playing up the Mekong River water resource issue. Its attempt to drive a wedge between China and downstream countries by undermining regional trust and peace is doomed to fail.

China and Mekong River countries share the common desire for stability and prosperity, and the resilience of regional economic cooperation and a shared industrial supply chain is strong enough to withstand outside interference and geopolitical gimmicks.

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