Opinion by Song Qingrun, an associate professor and PhD at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, published by China Global Television Network
Swathes of paddy fields across the Mekong Delta in Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar were inundated by the flood of water from both heavy rains and burst dams. Damaged reduced production up to 30 percent.
China has dammed and now controls the flow of the Mekong River, yet omplaints about the Mekong have been muffled, in part because China has little to fear from smaller countries like Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.
The five cities comprise Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai in Thailand, Chiang Tun in Myanmar’s Shan State, Chiang Rung in China’s Jinhong (Yunnan) and Chiang Thong in Laos’ Luang Prabang.
The arc where mountains meet the plains via the Mekong and other major river valleys form the Indo-Burma hotspot that includes Laos is well known as an area of immense natural and ecological value.
China’s Belt and Road Iniative could deliver more damage to an already fragile ecosystem that helps support some 284 million people.
Leaders of the Mekong nations have raised concerns over the development of hydropower along the river system following the collapse of a major dam in Laos in July.
Cambodia’s Hun Sen highly encouraged these countries to form the Association of the Rice Exporting Countries (AREC).
Those in power must give stronger voices to marginalised communities and protection to natural flood defenses.
In the last few months, several major port construction, expansion, and improvement projects were either completed, underway, or are being planned.