China plans to open dam to alleviate drought

BEIJING, China (Reuters) — China will release water from a dam in its southwestern province of Yunnan to help alleviate a drought in parts of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam,.

The water will be released until April 10 from the Jinghong dam, foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a daily news briefing.

The move will benefit Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Lu said.

“(China) hopes it can be of help in alleviating the drought downstream,” he said.

According to Vietnamese media, 345,000 acres of rice in the Mekong Delta have been damaged by the drought, and 600,000 people face drinking water shortages.

China and Vietnam are in-volved in an increasingly bitter territorial dispute in the South China Sea, but the two communist-lead countries have traditionally had close ties.

Beijing and Hanoi have also been trying to repair ties severely harmed in 2014 when Beijing parked an oil rig in waters off the Vietnamese coast, which led to anti-China riots.

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