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Cambodia welcomes China releasing water to drought-hit Mekong River countries

PHNOM PENH, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Wednesday welcomed the decision of the Chinese government to discharge water from Jinghong Hydropower Station in southwest China's Yunnan Province to downstream Mekong River for emergency use from March 15 to April 10.

"The discharge of water into Mekong River proves again the good cooperation on water resource management between the Mekong countries and China, which is an important part of the Mekong-Lancang River cooperation mechanism," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement.

The welcome came after Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Lu Kang announced in a regular news briefing on Tuesday that China will discharge water from a dam to the lower reaches of the Mekong River to alleviate drought in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam from March 15 till April 10.

Mekong River originates in China and runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is known as Lancang in the Chinese stretch.

China and the five countries along the Mekong are friendly neighbors and assistance like this is natural, Lu said.

Since late 2015, countries along the Lancang-Mekong River have suffered from drought to varying extents due to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon, the spokesperson said, adding the situation has worsened recently and threatens people's livelihoods.

"In order to accommodate the concerns of countries at the lower reach of the Mekong River, the Chinese government decides to overcome its own difficulties to offer emergency water flows," Lu said.

He said water resources cooperation is an important component of the cooperation mechanism being worked on by China and other Mekong River countries.

"China is willing to enhance coordination and practical cooperation with related countries in accordance with the mechanism in water resources management and disaster response to benefit the people in the region," the spokesperson said.

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