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Home > Embassy News > 2011
The Chinese Embassy Refutes The Financial Times's Article Attacking China As 'Hydro Hegemon'

On 31 August, The Financial Times carried an article by Brahma Chellaney asserting that China is seeking to make water a political weapon. The Embassy spokesman wrote a letter to the newspaper to refute its comment. On 19 September, The Financial Times published the main content of the letter. The entire letter is as follows:

Sir, I am writing with regard to an article by Mr Brahma Chellaney on 31st August (Water is the New Weapon in Beijing's Armory), to set the record straight on the assertions made in this article.

China has land borders with 14 neighbours and shares cross-border rivers with quite a few of them. China respects other littoral states' right to reasonable utilization of water resources in these rivers. We would never take these resources as a "political weapon" against any of our neighbours.

Our approach to cross-border rivers is to emphasize both rational utilization and preservation, in line with our commitment to build an environmental friendly and energy efficient society at home and ensure sustainable management of water resources in our neighbourhood. An example of this is the huge amount of investment China has made to preserve and improve water quality in some cross-border rivers. These investments have yielded positive results, recognized and commended by other littoral states.

Mr Chellaney's assertion that China has refused to accept water-sharing arrangements is not true. Despite the fact that the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses has not come into effect, China has followed its principles of equitable and reasonable utilization, obligation not to cause significant harm and international cooperation, in our effort to forge a harmonious and mutually beneficial partnership on the utilization of cross-border water resources with our neighbours. China has signed agreements on cross-border water resources with Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia, which are enforced through joint commissions. It has also developed effective cooperation with the DPRK, Vietnam, Mekong River Commission and India in flood prevention and forecast, water quality monitoring, maritime management, navigation and shipping as well as maritime disaster response and damage control.

Water shortage is a common challenge for a majority of countries, due growing population, economic and social development and climate change. China is no exception. At the same time, we faithfully abide by the International Water Law, which stipulates that all littoral states and people are entitled to equitable and reasonable utilization of water resources in cross-border rivers. We are committed to good-neighbourly partnership with our neighbours. Far from taking a beggar-thy-neighbour approach, we would only continue to strengthen our dialogue and cooperation with our neighbours to ensure better utilization and preservation of our shared water resources for the benefit of our peoples.

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