The Mekong Dam Monitor provides documented data that describes how dam operations – China has the largest ones – are disrupting the healthy balance and unique character of the Mekong river system. Climate change introduces more uncertainty into the equation.
China is stepping up its charm offensive in Southeast Asia, using water diplomacy to package itself as a regional power eager to help drought-hit Mekong countries and assist smaller ASEAN countries in narrowing the development gap within the region. Mia Gomez looks at the ASEAN response to this overture in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series.
On the heels of China’s overtures to ASEAN and Mekong countries, comes Japan’s answer — a 244 billion baht new cooperation fund for the region. Tassanee Vejpongsa of the Associated Press explains how the initiative will help promote “connectivity” within ASEAN countries and Japan through funding in infrastructure and development of human resources.
The China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism, which had its first leaders’ summit in March 2016, may sound boring but has big implications for water governance in the Mekong region, and for dividing ASEAN states in their dealings with China. In this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, Johanna Son says that the Beijing-dominated forum that is far from neutral for smaller states. LMC could also undercut the ASEAN centrality the organisation so values.
Excerpts from remarks by Yang Yi, secretary-general of the Chinese Institute of International Studies, at the public forum ‘The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: Challenges, Opportunities and Ways Forward’ on Apr. 28, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
MANILA, Dec 12 (IPS Asia-Pacific) – When Myo Thant, many years ago, forwarded a proposal that asked the government of Myanmar to help temper the rapid increase of HIV transmission and occurrence of AIDS in the population, his request was rejected. “Only Elizabeth Taylor works on HIV and AIDS,” he recalled one state official’s response written on his proposal paper, referring to the late American actress’ advocacy and philanthropy.
Photo: Truong Van Vi/Imaging Our Mekong-IPS Asia-Pacific