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Vietnam Today

PM calls for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Mekong region

Released at: 17:44, 11/01/2018

PM calls for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Mekong region

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (second from left) at the Gala Dinner in Phnom Penh on Jan. 10 (Photo: VNA)

Prime Minister addresses Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Summit in Phnom Penh on January 10.

by Quang Huy

Themed “Our River of Peace and Sustainable Development”, the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on January 10 heard a call from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for the six involved countries on the banks of the Mekong River to build a peaceful, stable, sustainable, and prosperous Mekong-Lancang region. 

Established in 2016 by Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam as a sub-regional cooperation mechanism, the MLC has made important strides forward in building working mechanisms and implementing concrete projects.

Outstanding outcomes include the implementation of 130 projects, completing many “Early Harvest” projects, setting up centers for environmental, water resource, and Mekong research cooperation, and establishing and operating the MLC Special Fund.

Leaders at the meeting reaffirmed the goal of building a Mekong-Lancang region of peace, stability, sustainable development, and prosperity in the future. They agreed that the MLC needs to contribute more actively to the region’s socioeconomic development while narrowing the development gap among member countries. The cooperation also needs to assist the building of the ASEAN Community and cooperate with other mechanisms such as the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Mekong River Commission.

The summit saw leaders adopting the Phnom Penh Declaration and the five-year MLC action plan for 2018-2022, which feature major orientations and measures for implementing cooperation in the three pillars of security-politics; economic and sustainable development; and society, culture, and people-to-people exchange.

They applauded the 214 MLC projects proposed by member countries and agreed to gradually expand cooperation to major projects of the sub-region on the basis of maximizing the MLC Special Fund and financial sources mobilized from governments, the private sector, and international financial organizations.

They agreed to consider water resource cooperation as a high priority area, increase cooperation in managing and using water resources sustainably through such activities as policy dialogue, sharing information and hydrological data, carrying out joint research and pilot projects relating to water resources on the Mekong-Lancang River, and considering the establishment of a hotline for emergency situations.

Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister Phuc affirmed Vietnam’s attachment of importance and contribution to MLC over recent years. He called for more attention to enhancing cooperation in protecting, managing, and using the Mekong River’s water resources in an effective and sustainable manner, thus turning water resource cooperation into a cooperation focus of the six countries over the next five years.

Priorities in the short term should include increasing the sharing of information and hydro-meteorological statistics, cooperating in response to drought and floods, conducting joint scientific studies, and considering the building of regulations on inter-reservoir operations along the Mekong-Lancang River, he added.

The Prime Minister also suggested developing completed and interconnected infrastructure systems to facilitate the movement of goods, services, capital, and people. Mekong-Lancang countries should be assisted to make use of opportunities from the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) through sharing experience, knowledge, and technology to promote industrialization in member nations; developing businesses and training skilled laborers; attracting resources into infrastructure development and creating conditions for projects to tap their potential and strengths; providing jobs for people; and enhancing cooperation in researching and transferring technology to develop agriculture, especially high-tech organic farming.

He and other leaders also attended a ceremony handing over the MLC Co-Chairmanship to Laos, a joint press conference on the meeting’s outcomes, and a photo exhibition on Mekong-Lancang achievements. The Vietnamese leader also held working sessions with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha on the sidelines of the Summit.

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