Southeast Asian river countries meet China over dam fears

Last Updated: Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 15:15

Hua Hin: Southeast Asian nations on the shrinking lower Mekong River began talks with China on Sunday amid fears that its dams are further depleting the waterway`s lowest levels in decades.

A Chinese delegation was due to hold talks in the Thai coastal town of Hua Hin ahead of a Monday meeting to be attended by Beijing`s Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao and the premiers of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Leaders will discuss management of the vast river, on which more than 60 million people depend, amid a crippling drought in the region and controversy surrounding the role of hydropower dams, said summit spokesman Damian Kean.

"This is to reaffirm the countries` political commitment to transboundary cooperation on managing the water resources of the Mekong basin," said Kean.

"New challenges such as climate change and new hydropower dams" are high on the agenda, added Kean, of the inter-governmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) that was organising the first summit in its 15-year history.

Leaders began arriving in Hua Hin today morning and were due to gather for a gala dinner ahead of Monday`s meeting, where they will sign a joint declaration of their aims, said organisers.

Myanmar will also participate as a dialogue partner at the top-level talks.


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First Published: Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 15:15

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