On November 7th, Minister Chen Lei met with Lao delegation headed by Minister Sommad Pholsena of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Lao in Beijing. The two sides conducted in-depth discussion on deepening bilateral cooperation in water field and boosting cooperation in terms of water resources management in the Lancang-Mekong Basin, and also exchanged views for the signing the Memorandum of Understanding aiming at promoting ministerial cooperation for water projects. Mr. Wei Shanzhong, MWR vice minister and Mr. Wang Annan, MWR Chief Designer also attended the meeting.
Chen Lei pointed out that China and Laos are linked by common mountains and rivers and share a historical relationship, and we are good neighbors and friends. President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit to Laos will elevate China-Laos comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new height. For a long time, water ministries of two countries have conducted in-depth cooperation and achieved fruitful results in water resources management, flood control and disaster reduction, sharing of water information as well as training and capacity-building, which have made great contribution to the continuous improvement of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Chen Lei stressed that both China and Laos are riparian countries of Lancang-Mekong River, and two sides have enjoyed close communication and cooperation under Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation mechanism and China, Myanmar and Mekong River Commission dialogue mechanism. Fruitful and pragmatic cooperation was conducted in data sharing, personnel training, joint research, and project application to Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund. It is common wishes of both sides to take full advantage of the platform of Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center, further deepening multilateral cooperation in water field with Lancang-Mekong riparian countries, and making joint efforts to promote a green, coordinated and sustainable development of the basin, and safeguard the development of a community of common destiny for Lancang-Mekong countries.
Chen Lei pointed out, the China-Laos comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership has been continuously consolidated and developed over the past years. Under this context, we shall actively strive for the signing of Memorandum of Understanding, and here by strengthen communication and exchanges among river basin authorities, research institutions, and project management organizations of the two countries.
Minister Sommad Pholsena mentioned that when the Mekong river countries suffered severe “once-in-a-century” drought last year, China took emergency water replenishment measures, which effectively alleviated the drought situation in the downstream countries and was highly remarked by the governments of downstream countries, international communities and Laos. Minister Sommad Pholsena expressed sincere appreciation to the efforts made by the Chinese side.
Minister Sommad Pholsena stressed that China has accumulated rich experiences in flood control and disaster reduction, and is leading the world in terms of flood forecasting mechanism. Laos is willing to learn from the Chinese experience on flood control, disaster mitigation, optimal operation of reservoirs, water resources development and utilization and ecological conservation, and deepen bilateral technical exchanges with implementation of China-Laos water cooperation project as a model, which will play an important role in the sustainable development of water resources in Laos and the management of flood control and drought relief.
He also said that the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center is a major important platform for Mekong countries to pursue water resources cooperation. Laos is willing to enhance and strengthen communication and coordination with China, and hopes that the center will play an important role in capacity-building and information sharing.
Officials from relevant departments of Ministry of Water Resources also attended the meeting.