Vietnam is willing to cooperate with China and other riparian countries to establish a cooperation center for sustainable use of the Mekong River's water resources, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said.
Vietnam is also ready to contribute funding and expertise for the center, Minh said at a meeting Wednesday between Mekong River countries in Hainan, China.
The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting was held for the first time between Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and China. The countries share the 4,900-kilometer (3,045-mile) river, whose upper part in China is known as Lancang.
There is severe drought in the region, especially in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, the lowest reaches of the river. Unusually low rainfall and a large number of upstream hydropower dams have been blamed for the crisis.
Minh hailed China for releasing water from one of its dams, following requests from downstream countries, a move that he said proved the importance of regional cooperation.
The Greater Mekong Subregion is facing major security and development challenges, especially pollution, climate change and threats to water resources, he said.
In that context, Mekong-Lancang cooperation plays an important role in promoting sustainable development and strengthening friendships between the six countries, he said.
He confirmed that Vietnam is willing to work with other countries in promoting new technologies and sustainable agricultural practices to ensure food and water security.