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Vietnam warns of water conflicts, calls for Mekong sustainability

Published on Sep 7, 2012 4:06 PM

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AFP) - Nations could soon be engaged in conflicts over access to water, Vietnam's president warned on Friday, as he called for sustainable exploitation of South-east Asia's Mekong River.

Speaking at a business forum in Russia, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said water was likely to become a geopolitical flashpoint commodity like oil.

"It would not be over-exaggerating... to view the water resources of the 21st century as the oil of the 19th and 20th centuries," Mr Sang said during a seminar on water at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) event.

"Tensions over water resources are threatening economic growth in many countries and presenting a source of conflict especially given the efforts of all countries to step up economic development. Dam construction and stream adjustment by some countries in upstream rivers represents a concern for many countries and an implicit factor affecting relations between relevant countries."

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