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Climate asia s water war  china  thailand  laos  cambodia  vietnam | Upload General

Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam

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by: Marike Boonstra
asia s water war  china  thailand  laos  cambodia  vietnam | Upload

Water is the reason for several imminent huge conflicts in our world. We have already paid attention to the major water conflict between India and Pakistan and the approaching water war over the dam in the Nile between Egypt and Ethiopia. But the greatest threat of war over water is just around the corner: the rising hostility over the resources of the Mekong River can affect millions of people through natural disasters, famine and regional instability. This concerns China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In this article you can read more about Asia's Water War.

The Mekong River: the throbbing lifeline of Asia

The Mekong River is incredibly important for millions of people in China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The river rises in the Tibetan Highlands of China, traverses the country, continues in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally flows into Vietnam: the Mekong Delta. The Mekong River is the vital lifeline for drinking water, electricity and food. Jeremy Luedi writes in his article for Under the Radar: 'Mekong is one of the world’s most productive inland fisheries, with an annual catch of some 2.6 million tonnes, valued at between $3.9 – 7 billion. 71% of rural Laotian households rely on subsistence fishing on the Mekong, and 1.2 million Cambodians are almost entirely dependent on Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake that connects to the mighty river'. You probably already knew that Vietnam is one of the largest rice producers in the world: this position is also due to the river. The Mekong Delta, the area in southern Vietnam where the river flows into the South China Sea, helps feed millions of people and put Vietnam on the map as an important rice exporter.

China, the biggest threat for the downstream countries

So there is no doubt about the importance of the Mekong River for the different countries through which it flows. And where water is important, there is also a fuss about ownership: every country complains about the use of the Mekong River by their upstream neighbours. There is a reason for this, because Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have all built dams on the Mekong River - also to stimulate the progress of industrialization, which is of course very important for the countries. The more industry, the more the countries are bickering about the Mekong River. Vietnam seems to have the most reason to worry as the last country and the place where the Mekong River flows into the South China Sea, Vietnam also has the most cause for concern. But the country where everyone should be most concerned is China.

China has the most power over the Mekong River: the river rises in the Tibetan highlands. And power over the Mekong means power over the downstream countries. The Mekong River is also of great importance for China: it has accelerated China's industrialization and helps China realize its ambition for clean energy. Hydropower is one of the largest energy sources in this country - and even more hydroelectric potential can be gained. Under the Radar sorted it out and writes: 'the estimated energy potential of the Upper Mekong Basin is almost 29,000 MW – more than the world’s largest power station, the Three Gorges Dam: the Lower Basin’s potential exceeds 30,000 MW'.

Three gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China

Chinese construction projects

The various dams that China has built to use the Mekong River to their advantage are of concern to the undercurrent countries. The water levels are falling, and China has the possibility to store up to 28% of the annual flow of the Mekong on the Chinese border. However, an even bigger problem is the major ecological problems that China and the other countries are facing because of the construction projects for the dams that the countries are building - just like not switching to renewable energy. The problems are piling up: Vietnam suffers from both droughts and floods: Under the Radar investigated that by 2100 it is expected that half of the Mekong Delta in this country will be submerged, which has enormous consequences for the country.

China does help Vietnam in this situation, after petitioning to release water to combat droughts, China opened the Jinghong hydroelectric power plant for a month, but Being attributes the water shortage to natural causes only. "In order to help those countries cope with the drought, the Chinese government decided to surmount the difficulties it faces and do its utmost to help,” says foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang. That all seems good, but it is true that Chinese construction projects are one of the main causes of the problems.

The Mekong Delta could disappear

China needs sand. China has used more concrete in the last five years than the United States in the entire twentieth century. The only question is: where should the sand come from? Sand extraction along the Yangtze River is already prohibited, but illegal sand extraction is a serious problem. The enormous damage to the Yangtze is not a warning enough, because certain parts of the Mekong river can still be used. The downstream countries are also concerned with unsustainable sand extraction, which only complicates the problem. Less and less sediment is reaching the end of the Mekong in Vietnam, which will ultimately mean that the Mekong Delta will disappear in the face of oceanic erosion.

sand mining yangtse
Illegal scale sand dredging, a major threat to the ecology and navigation safety of waterways in the Yangtze

Overlapping organizations

The biggest danger for the most downstream countries is the Chinese uncertainty about water. As a result of population growth and industrialization, freshwater availability per person is far below the global average. If there is a threat of water shortage, China can increasingly drain water to save its own population, endangering people from other countries. And these countries cannot do much about it. Under the Rader writes: 'said countries would also not have any means of recourse should China increasingly monopolize the Mekong’s water, save for international arbitration. China’s dismissive attitude towards international bodies it disagrees with – such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – effectively leaves regional organizations as the last available forum.'.

t's just that China has a lot of influence because many organizations overlap - the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism (LMCM) is heavily sponsored by the country, for example. Also, there is less American aid in Cambodia, for example, by the Trump government and China nowadays has more influence than Vietnam in Laos, to name a few issues.

A hard time for Beijng

China seems to have all the power over the Mekong River, yet Beijng is not having an easy time: local NGOs and citizens are protesting against the establishment of the shipping route One Belt, One Road. Operation Mekong, about the Mekong River Massacre, where thirteen crew members were brutally murdered, raised $ 173 million. All kinds of nasty events have taken place, such as the death of Chinese civilians during an alleged bomb explosion and the shooting of a Chinese worker in Laos. Something must be done to keep the peace around the Mekong River. The question is: will China intervene before it is too late?

https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/society

Asia’s Water War: China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam

Water is the reason for several imminent huge conflicts in our world. We have already paid attention to the major water conflict between India and Pakistan and the approaching water war over the dam in the Nile between Egypt and Ethiopia. But the greatest threat of war over water is just around the corner: the rising hostility over the resources of the Mekong River can affect millions of people through natural disasters, famine and regional instability. This concerns China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In this article you can read more about Asia's Water War. The Mekong River: the throbbing lifeline of Asia The Mekong River is incredibly important for millions of people in China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The river rises in the Tibetan Highlands of China, traverses the country, continues in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally flows into Vietnam: the Mekong Delta. The Mekong River is the vital lifeline for drinking water, electricity and food. Jeremy Luedi writes in his article for Under the Radar: 'Mekong is one of the world’s most productive inland fisheries, with an annual catch of some 2.6 million tonnes, valued at between $3.9 – 7 billion. 71% of rural Laotian households rely on subsistence fishing on the Mekong, and 1.2 million Cambodians are almost entirely dependent on Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake that connects to the mighty river'. You probably already knew that Vietnam is one of the largest rice producers in the world: this position is also due to the river. The Mekong Delta, the area in southern Vietnam where the river flows into the South China Sea, helps feed millions of people and put Vietnam on the map as an important rice exporter. China, the biggest threat for the downstream countries So there is no doubt about the importance of the Mekong River for the different countries through which it flows. And where water is important, there is also a fuss about ownership: every country complains about the use of the Mekong River by their upstream neighbours. There is a reason for this, because Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have all built dams on the Mekong River - also to stimulate the progress of industrialization, which is of course very important for the countries. The more industry, the more the countries are bickering about the Mekong River. Vietnam seems to have the most reason to worry as the last country and the place where the Mekong River flows into the South China Sea, Vietnam also has the most cause for concern. But the country where everyone should be most concerned is China. China has the most power over the Mekong River: the river rises in the Tibetan highlands. And power over the Mekong means power over the downstream countries. The Mekong River is also of great importance for China: it has accelerated China's industrialization and helps China realize its ambition for clean energy. Hydropower is one of the largest energy sources in this country - and even more hydroelectric potential can be gained. Under the Radar sorted it out and writes: 'the estimated energy potential of the Upper Mekong Basin is almost 29,000 MW – more than the world’s largest power station, the Three Gorges Dam: the Lower Basin’s potential exceeds 30,000 MW'. The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China Chinese construction projects The various dams that China has built to use the Mekong River to their advantage are of concern to the undercurrent countries. The water levels are falling, and China has the possibility to store up to 28% of the annual flow of the Mekong on the Chinese border. However, an even bigger problem is the major ecological problems that China and the other countries are facing because of the construction projects for the dams that the countries are building - just like not switching to renewable energy. The problems are piling up: Vietnam suffers from both droughts and floods: Under the Radar investigated that by 2100 it is expected that half of the Mekong Delta in this country will be submerged, which has enormous consequences for the country. China does help Vietnam in this situation, after petitioning to release water to combat droughts, China opened the Jinghong hydroelectric power plant for a month, but Being attributes the water shortage to natural causes only. "In order to help those countries cope with the drought, the Chinese government decided to surmount the difficulties it faces and do its utmost to help,” says foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang. That all seems good, but it is true that Chinese construction projects are one of the main causes of the problems. The Mekong Delta could disappear China needs sand. China has used more concrete in the last five years than the United States in the entire twentieth century. The only question is: where should the sand come from? Sand extraction along the Yangtze River is already prohibited, but illegal sand extraction is a serious problem. The enormous damage to the Yangtze is not a warning enough, because certain parts of the Mekong river can still be used. The downstream countries are also concerned with unsustainable sand extraction, which only complicates the problem. Less and less sediment is reaching the end of the Mekong in Vietnam, which will ultimately mean that the Mekong Delta will disappear in the face of oceanic erosion. Illegal scale sand dredging, a major threat to the ecology and navigation safety of waterways in the Yangtze Overlapping organizations The biggest danger for the most downstream countries is the Chinese uncertainty about water . As a result of population growth and industrialization, freshwater availability per person is far below the global average. If there is a threat of water shortage, China can increasingly drain water to save its own population, endangering people from other countries. And these countries cannot do much about it. Under the Rader writes: 'said countries would also not have any means of recourse should China increasingly monopolize the Mekong’s water, save for international arbitration. China’s dismissive attitude towards international bodies it disagrees with – such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – effectively leaves regional organizations as the last available forum.'. t's just that China has a lot of influence because many organizations overlap - the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism (LMCM) is heavily sponsored by the country, for example. Also, there is less American aid in Cambodia, for example, by the Trump government and China nowadays has more influence than Vietnam in Laos, to name a few issues. A hard time for Beijng China seems to have all the power over the Mekong River, yet Beijng is not having an easy time: local NGOs and citizens are protesting against the establishment of the shipping route One Belt, One Road. Operation Mekong, about the Mekong River Massacre, where thirteen crew members were brutally murdered, raised $ 173 million. All kinds of nasty events have taken place, such as the death of Chinese civilians during an alleged bomb explosion and the shooting of a Chinese worker in Laos. Something must be done to keep the peace around the Mekong River. The question is: will China intervene before it is too late? https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/society
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