China to be asked Mekong questions at regional summit

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Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is expected to talk to Chinese officials about the Mekong River and current problems with water resources on the sidelines of the first Mekong River Commission (MRC) summit next month.

Nguyen Tan Dung will speak with China's Minister of Natural Resources to share information concerning the issues during the two-day summit starting April 4, Le Duc Trung, office chief of MRC Vietnam was quoted by local newswire Vietnamnet as saying Sunday.

The summit in Thailand will be the first to mark 15 years of the Agreement on the Cooperation for Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin between Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Trung said the Vietnamese PM will make the opening address in which he will make suggestions for the operation for the commission in the future and ways to protect Vietnam's water resources.

Special problems concerning water and water resources in the region will be discussed at a special meeting between experts in the field, he said.

Vietnam's minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen and Vietnamese officials from concerned agencies will also attend the summit.

Nguyen will attend ministerial talks with his counterparts from five other Mekong River countries China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The summit comes at a time Mekong River countries are asking China, which has several dams upstream the river, to take responsibility for the draught and floods that they have caused, hurting people living downstream.

China has denied it is responsible.

The summit is seen as a chance for riparian countries to question China on the issue.

It is expected to be organized every four years. Vietnam will host the summit in 2014.

The Mekong River Commission was established in 1995 by an agreement between the governments of the Lower Mekong Basin: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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