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3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation leaders' meeting enhances partnership, promotes common prosperity, say senior officials

Updated: Aug 25,2020 11:25 AM    Xinhua

PHNOM PENH — The third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting comprehensively maps out the blueprint for future cooperation among the LMC members, said senior officials of the LMC countries.

It will help them strengthen partnership, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, jointly fight the COVID-19 pandemic and boost socio-economic recovery, and jointly build a community of shared future, the officials said.

The meeting was held via video link on Aug 24, during which Premier Li Keqiang put forward a series of proposals to promote Lancang-Mekong cooperation in areas such as water resources, connectivity and global anti-pandemic efforts.

Cambodian Foreign Ministry's Secretary of State Luy David said the evolution of the LMC is quite fast, and its framework is one of the most important platforms for the six countries to work together to promote peace, stability and sustainable development.

China has proposed synergizing the LMC with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which will allow products from Lancang-Mekong countries to directly enter markets in the central and western regions of China, and then be transported to Central Asia and Europe, he said.

Sommad Pholsena, Lao minister of natural resources and environment, said "We depend more on our close neighbors than relatives faraway."

As a responsible partner, China shares the hydrological data on the Lancang River more timely and transparently with the downstream countries, and carries out emergency cooperation in response to floods and droughts, he said.

In 2016 and 2019, the Mekong countries suffered from severe drought. China strengthened the scientific operation of reservoirs on the Lancang River to effectively alleviate the drought, which was highly acknowledged by the governments of the Mekong countries including Laos, as well as by the international community, he said.

"I believe that other ministers of water resources in the other member countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, together with me, will actively implement the new consensus on water resources cooperation at this leaders' meeting," said the Lao minister.

Vikrom Kromadit, president of Thailand-China Business Council, said that the meeting will play an important role in regional cooperation and common development against the backdrop of the COVID-19 epidemic hitting the world economy.

Lancang-Mekong region has maintained a rapid growth rate in the past decade and has become one of the regions with the fastest economic growth in the world, he said.

The region has unique advantages of location, transportation, logistics and culture, he said, adding that under the LMC mechanism, the member states have provided a series of preferential measures in customs, capacity cooperation and cross-border trade.

U Khin Maung Lynn, joint secretary of Myanmar Institute of Strategies and International Studies, said against the backdrop of the epidemic, cooperative interaction should be further deepened among LMC member countries.

Development of the agricultural sector is important for all Lancang-Mekong member countries, he said, adding that cooperation is needed in quality control, improvement of research and agricultural technology, creating smooth transportation access, promoting eco-friendly production.

He said China can also help Lancang-Mekong member countries in poverty alleviation. LMC member countries should join hands in such issues as protecting women from poverty and natural disasters, promoting hygiene awareness in rural areas, and other corporate social responsibilities activities.

"It is the time to prove to the world that Mekong region can achieve prosperity and civilization with the unity and cooperation among LMC member countries," he said.

Hoang Quoc Dung, a member of the executive board of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment lauded China's sharing the annual hydrological information of the Lancang River.

The official said that such information sharing will contribute to promoting a shift in farming towards minimization of water use in low river flow period, and will "certainly be a crucial input" for addressing the increasing impacts of intensive agricultural and aquatic farming practices.

Initiated by China in 2014, the LMC consists of six countries -- China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwestern China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through the other five countries before emptying into the sea.

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