China Continues to Refuse to Become a Member of the Mekong River Commission – Tuesday, 6.4.2010

Posted on 7 April 2010. Filed under: Week 659 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 659

“Phnom Penh: China continues to refuse to become a member of the Mekong River Commission, but said that it will continue good cooperation with the Commission.

“The Minister of Meteorology and Water Resources, Mr. Lim Kean Hor, said so in the afternoon of 5 April 2010 at the Phnom Penh International Airport, after accompanying Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen to attend the first Mekong River Commission summit from 4 to 5 April 2010 in Thailand.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor said, ‘All member countries of the Mekong River Commission try their utmost to encourage China and Myanmar to become members of the Commission. We have been doing this work for many years. But recently, the Undersecretary of State of Foreign Affairs of China announced that China will keep on cooperating with the Mekong River Commission to exchange information when the water gates are opened or closed during the rainy and the dry seasons etc…’

“Previously, there had been criticism about the bad impact of the construction of hydro-electric dams at the upper regions of the Mekong River in China, making the level of the downstream water shallower.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor added that the level of the water becomes shallower because of climate change. Recently, there have been droughts at the upstream countries, like in China, Laos, and Thailand. The level of rain dropped and thus, the level of the water of the river dropped also. Therefore, the construction of the hydro-electric dams must not be considered as the root problem. He went on to say that for the construction of each dam, there had been very careful studies. Independent assessors were selected to assess the environmental impact of the construction of hydro-electric dams in the upper regions.

“Also, Mr. Lim Kean Hor talked about the participation in the International Mekong River Commission summit held in Hua Hin in Thailand, saying that the prime ministers of four member countries, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the Vice Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and of China were present at the meeting. It was the first summit since the Commission was created 15 years ago. The summit focused on how to sustainably develop the Mekong River Basin in the four countries.

“Mr. Lim Kean Hor went on to say that during the summit, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen met with the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, and China supports and encourages cooperation with Cambodia.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5169, 6.4.2010

Note – Additional Information

The Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin states:

To promote, support, cooperate and coordinate in the development of the full potential of sustainable benefits to all riparian States and the prevention of wasteful use of Mekong River Basin waters, with emphasis and preference on joint and/or basin-wide development projects and basin programs through the formulation of a basin development plan, that would be used to identify, categorize and prioritize the projects and programs to seek assistance for and to implement at the basin level.

This declaration of principles is supported by practical requirements, by which all Member States committed themselves not to act independently, but in mutual consultation; the Dialogue Partners China and Myanmar did not make these commitments. The result is that the Member States can only administer together, what comes flowing down the Mekong River – after the upstream countries have decided themselves how much water may be used for hydro-electricity or for agricultural irrigation – that is not under a similar commitment for rules based cooperation.

Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement

Notification: Timely providing information by a riparian to the Joint Committee on its proposed use of water according to the format, content and procedures set forth in the Rules for Water Utilization and Inter-Basin Diversions.

Prior consultation: Timely notification plus additional data and information to the Joint Committee as provided in the Rules for Water Utilization and Inter-Basin Diversion, that would allow the other member riparians to discuss and evaluate the impact of the proposed use upon their uses of water and any other affects, which is the basis for arriving at an agreement. Prior consultation is neither a right to veto the use nor unilateral right to use water by any riparian without taking into account other riparians’ rights.

Proposed use: Any proposal for a definite use of the waters of the Mekong River system by any riparian, excluding domestic and minor uses of water not having a significant impact on mainstream flows.

In addition to the data and information required for Notification, the notifying State shall timely provide the Mekong River Commission Joint Committee with available and additional technical data and information on its proposed use of waters for an evaluation of impacts by the other riparian States.

The Malaysian News Agency Bernama reported

Climate Change To Blame For Mekong Droughts: Cambodian PM

PHNOM PENH, 6 April 2010 (Bernama) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Tuesday that blames on China over droughts of the Mekong River is baseless and the global climate change is to blame instead.

Hun Sen, who attended last week’s Mekong Summit in Hua Hin of Thailand along with other leaders and scientists, said: “They (some countries) are blaming China while China itself is being victimized by droughts.

“.. China’s Lancang River has no water, either,” the Xinhua news agency cited Hun Sen as saying here. “The upper part of China’s Yunnan province is also facing severe droughts, worse than Cambodia,” he said. “The level of water in the Mekong River totally depends on rain and the level of water fluctuates with the climate change,” said Hun Sen.

“I am not defending China, but I am saying this only to provide justice for China,” Hun Sen said, adding that he had a separate talk with China and Laos on the sidelines of the Mekong Summit in Thailand.

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #453, 6.4.2010

  • A Wood Storehouse of the Canadia Bank in the Cultural Village [of Siem Reap] Was Raided, and Hundreds of Cubic Meters of Wood Were Found
  • The King Will Visit Japan in May 2010 [to strengthen bilateral ties]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2220, 6.4.2010

  • A Short Armed Clash Broke Out on the Trop Mountain, but No Soldiers Were Wounded [Cambodian military official said that Thai soldiers began shooting at Cambodia trenches first]
  • Battambang Forestry Chief Arbitrarily Locked up Two Newspaper Agents [of Kampuchea Thmey and Koh Santepheap as they tried to question him about a car loaded with charcoal that was blocked to extort money]
  • Brigadier General Tep Phirum Was Accused of Unintentionally Causing Injury [to an English woman by his gunfire – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6927, 6.4.2010

  • The National Assembly Adopted the Draft Law about Co-Ownership of Buildings by Foreigners
  • Regarding Forestry Officials Trading [918 pieces of] Ebony, a Court Decided to Detain Mr. Ouk Kimsan, while Mr. Vann Sophanna Was Not Detained [Koh Kong]
  • More Than 26 Tonnes of Fish Died of Poison, a Second Time Case in 2010, and the Fish Breeders Blame an Ethanol Company [Kandal]

Meatophum, Vol.54, #766, 5-10.4.2010

  • A Countrywide Census to Find Ghost Names of Civil Servants Will Start on 6 April 2010

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3851, 6.4.2010

  • Surprisingly [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Prohibits [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra from Entering Cambodia while Red-Shirt Groups [his supporters] Are Demonstrating in Bangkok

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #146, 6.4.2010

  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Praised [Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen after the Surprising Position Taken on [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that he will not allow Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra to use Cambodia as a political basis against the Thai government]
  • Eleven Citizens Who Were Arrested for Blocking National Road 2 Were Released [they continue to protest over a land dispute with a company – Kandal]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5169, 6.4.2010

  • The Leaders of the Member Countries of the Mekong River Commission Recognized Climate Change Problems as Priority
  • China Continues to Refuse to Become a Member of the Mekong River Commission
  • A Remorque Moto Turned over and Killed Two Men, where One of Them Held Four Yama [Ecstasy] Tablets in His Palm [Phnom Penh]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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