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Premier Li calls for further regional cooperation

Updated: Aug 24,2020 09:42 PM

Premier Li Keqiang attended the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting via video link in Beijing on Aug 24, and made a series of proposals to promote Lancang-Mekong cooperation.

The meeting was co-chaired by Premier Li and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also attended the meeting.

Lancang-Mekong cooperation originates from water, and the six Lancang-Mekong countries are a de facto community with a shared future linked by the same water, Premier Li said.

President Xi Jinping has called on more countries to pursue more inclusive global governance, more effective multilateral institutions, and more robust regional cooperation. China appreciates the efforts made by the countries in the mechanism to promote regional cooperation.

Over the past four years since the mechanism was put in place, the cooperation has entered into a period of comprehensive development after experiencing rapid expansion, injecting vitality into the regional development and bringing tangible benefits to the people, the Premier said.

In addition, efforts have been made to put institutional cooperation in water resources on a fast track to deepen economic and trade cooperation for effective economic growth and to enhance the well-being of those along the river on a people-oriented basis, he noted.

In the first half of this year, bilateral trade between China and the Mekong countries has grown against the trend, showing great potential for cooperation between the two sides, Premier Li said.

Premier Li Keqiang put forward a series of proposals to promote Lancang-Mekong cooperation.

China is willing to offer more assistance within its capacity to other Lancang-Mekong countries to better utilize water resources, Premier Li said.

He noted that China will share the Lancang River's hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries beginning this year and will work with other countries to establish an information sharing platform of water resources cooperation to better tackle climate change and natural disasters, such as floods and droughts.

The Premier also announced such moves as the regular holding of ministerial meetings and forums on water resources cooperation, and the implementation of a five-year-plan on Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation, as well as the implementation of cooperation programs on dam security and flood alerts.

On expanding trade and promoting connectivity, Premier Li proposed synergizing the LMC with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which will make trade routes more convenient, help optimize the allocation of resources, keep industrial and supply chains stable and spur coordinated development.

Joint efforts should be made to promote the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement within the year to achieve a better level of regional economic integration, the Premier suggested.

Premier Li also called for better building of the China-Laos Railway and the China-Thailand railway, deepening financial cooperation, and setting up the regional network for quick and green channels to facilitate personnel exchange and cargo movement.

On deepening sustainable development cooperation, the Premier called for speeding up the implementation of a three-year action plan on agricultural cooperation with other Lancang-Mekong countries. He said that China welcomes the import of more quality agricultural and livestock products and affiliated products from Mekong countries, and will conduct cooperation in climate change and biodiversity protection.

China will set up special funds to promote public health under the framework of the LMC Special Fund, and continue to provide anti-epidemic materials and technical support to Mekong countries, he said. The country also will give priority to providing COVID-19 vaccines to Mekong countries once a vaccine is developed and put into use.

Information reporting and joint management on major public health emergencies should be conducted, and China is willing to work with Mekong countries to support the work of the World Health Organization, the Premier said.

Premier Li proposed strengthening cooperation in improving people’s livelihoods, conducting projects in disaster prevention and reduction and cleaning work in rural areas, and letting the cooperation bring more benefits to grassroots people. He also called for comprehensive development of poor communities and revitalizing tourism.

An open and inclusive concept should be practiced, according to the Premier. Communication between different mechanisms should be enhanced; exchanges between the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and other subregional mechanisms should be promoted.

He also called for discussion on Lancang-Mekong countries’ cooperation with a third party, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and the European Union.

China supports the central role of the ASEAN in East Asian cooperation, and is willing to give a boost to building the ASEAN community through the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and to deepen strategic partnership relations between China and the ASEAN, he said.

Premier Li said significant results have been achieved in China’s epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development. The country’s development will bring more cooperation opportunities for Mekong countries and the world.

China expects to work with Mekong countries to advance the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, and inject more vitality into subregional and local development and prosperity, he added.

Leaders at the meeting spoke highly of the achievements of the LMC and fully agreed with Premier Li’s proposals. The LMC has played an important role in promoting regional social and economic development, improving people’s well-being, consolidating peace and security and enhancing mutual understanding and trust, they said.

They fully affirmed the progress made on water resources cooperation, and are willing to deepen cooperation on the LMC economic development belt, synergize with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and strengthen interconnectivity.

Participants at the meeting appreciated China’s commitment to providing COVID-19 vaccines to the international world, and increasing accessibility in developing countries. They are glad to deepen cooperation in public health with China, as well as in epidemic prevention and control, to boost economic recovery and development.

All parties are also committed to promoting regional economic integration and liberalization and facilitation in trade and investment, as well as safeguarding multilateralism.

Premier Li and other leaders also attended the handover ceremony for Myanmar to take over as co-chair of the next Lancang-Mekong Cooperation.

Those at the meeting issued the Vientiane Declaration of the third Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Leaders' Meeting and the co-chairs' statement on cooperation of synergizing the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.

He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, also attended the meeting.