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Lancang-Mekong cooperation offers new opportunities

Updated: Mar 23,2016 10:22 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The first leaders’ meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism (LMC) in Sanya, China, is expected to provide political guidance and a roadmap for subregional cooperation between China and the five Southeast Asian nations of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The LMC mechanism was initiated in 2014 in accordance with the strong will of the six countries along the river for development and prosperity.

The LMC is a self-initiative of the six countries and is tailored to their specific needs.

Compared with other cooperation mechanisms, the LMC is more practical, more effective and more in line with people’s aspirations.

With the step-by-step implementation of the LMC mechanism, one-day rail travel along the Lancang-Mekong region will become reality as lines of the Pan-Asia Railway network are under construction.

The mechanism will not only facilitate the movement of people and goods between those countries, but also speed up the region’s development as a whole.

Since the LMC mechanism was proposed by Premier Li Keqiang in November 2014, three meetings of senior officials, three meetings of the working teams, as well as a foreign ministers’ meeting have been held to launch the dialogue and cooperation. Agreement has been reached on 78 early-harvest projects covering water resource management, poverty alleviation, public health, infrastructure, personnel exchanges, science and technology.

The LMC mechanism has three pillars -- political and security issues, economic affairs and sustainable development, and social affairs and people-to-people exchanges.

With consensus and strong will of the six countries, the LMC mechanism is showing tremendous potential.

Apart from the six countries, the LMC mechanism is also conducive to the strengthening of cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and lend a helping hand to the regional bloc’s integration.

“The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism comes as a natural result of our existing cooperation, and will take full advantage of our geographic proximity, traditional friendship and complementary economies,” Premier Li told the Sanya meeting on March 23.

Premier Li said China firmly supports ASEAN’s integration and the LMC will supplement China-ASEAN relations.