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Premier Li attends GMS meeting

Updated: Sep 09,2021 20:26 PM

Premier Li Keqiang attended the seventh summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation on Sept 9 in Beijing, giving a speech to attendees.

The meeting was chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, with Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, Chairman of the State Administration Council of Myanmar Min Aung Hlaing, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and President of the Asian Development Bank Masatsugu Asakawa in attendance.

In his speech, Premier Li said China and the Mekong countries are close neighbors, akin to a family.

Noting President Xi Jinping's idea of building a community with a shared future in its neighborhood, Premier Li said since the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation mechanism was established, it has benefited the economic and social development of the countries involved and improved their people's livelihood, contributing to the region’s stability and prosperity.

The world is still going through repeated outbreaks of the pandemic. As the world economy encounters increasing instability and uncertainty, countries in the subregion are facing new challenges in economic recovery and sustainable growth, the Premier noted.

He also called for consensus, political mutual trust, expanded areas of cooperation and a higher level of cooperation to jointly promote sustainable and inclusive development of the region.

According to the Premier, cooperation on water resources should be deepened for the benefit of the countries along the river, and the legitimate rights and interests of the countries in the rational development and utilization of water resources should be fully respected.

Problems should be solved through consultations, he added.

China has provided annual hydrological information from the Lancang River to the five Mekong countries within the framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation since last year, and initiated a website for sharing information on Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation, Premier Li said.

China, he said, is willing to make joint efforts with other members to convene the Second Ministerial Meeting on Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation and the Second Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Forum, strengthen solidarity and cooperation between upstream and downstream countries and enhance comprehensive capacity in river basin and water resource management.

Premier Li stressed making people’s lives the top priority, calling for joint efforts in epidemic control and vaccine cooperation with a scientific spirit and adhering to rules.

China will give Mekong countries priority access to COVID-19 vaccines and other medical supply aid within its ability, the Premier said, adding the country is willing to conduct cooperation in epidemic monitoring and infectious disease prevention with current public health special funds.

Calling for investment for joint economic recovery, Premier Li urged efforts in ratification, implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and carrying out the upgraded protocol of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, to inject strong momentum into the development of all countries, including GMS nations.

Interconnectivity for coordinated development was also stressed.

The Premier asked members to bring the 2030 transportation strategy to fruition, give full play to the exemplary role of the upcoming China-Laos railway, accelerate construction of the China-Thailand railway and the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway, and promote building a regional electricity coordination hub.

While calling for sustainable development and improving people's livelihoods, Premier Li said more work should be done in response to climate change, environmental protection and phase III of the GMS core environment project. New cooperation modes in tourism amid regular epidemic prevention and control should also be discussed, he added.

Political trust should be consolidated and common interests of GMS countries should be safeguarded, Premier Li noted. He underlined good neighborliness and friendship, mutual respect and equality, and caring for each other's major concerns, and said multilateralism should be upheld and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence should be promoted.

The philosophy of openness and inclusiveness should be advocated to leverage our strengths, pool synergy for development and advance GMS economic cooperation and coordinated development of countries alongside the Lancang-Mekong River, Premier Li said.

He also stated development is the foundation and key to addressing all issues facing China. With a new philosophy for development, China, based on a new development phase, will run its affairs well by accelerating construction of new development patterns to promote high-quality development. China will make macro regulation more forward-looking, precise and effective, and keep the economy operating within an appropriate range, he said.

Premier Li added China will further deepen reform and create a market-based, law-based and internationalized business environment to further stimulate vitality of market entities and creativity of society.

High-level opening-up will be promoted, and China welcomes foreign enterprises from all countries. They will be treated as equal as domestic enterprises as the nation is pushing for fair competition, opening-up and inclusive cooperation, Premier Li said, adding China’s development will bring new opportunities and benefits for all countries, including nations that share the Mekong River.

China, Premier Li stressed, is willing to join hands with countries in the region to promote regional economic integration, maintain peace and stability and make new contributions to the integrated development and common prosperity of GMS.

Hailing Premier Li's proposals at the meeting, state leaders and heads of related organizations extended their appreciation for China's assistance in fighting against COVID-19.

Under the impact of the pandemic and challenges brought by changing international and regional situations, GMS countries should adhere to multilateralism, turn challenges into opportunities and ramp up efforts for strong economic and social recovery of nations in the region to achieve sustainable and inclusive development, safeguard peace and stability and promote common prosperity and people's benefits, they said.

The meeting issued the Declaration of the Seventh Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation and passed the 2030 strategic framework of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation and the plan for COVID-19 response and economic recovery of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation for 2021 to 2023.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, also participated.