Leaders from 6 Lancang-Mekong nations united on shared future

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Leaders of the Lancang-Mekong countries reached consensus relevant to their shared future at the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation leaders' meeting in Phnom Penh.
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that leaders of the Lancang-Mekong countries reached consensus relevant to their shared future at the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation leaders’ meeting in Phnom Penh.

The meeting was chaired by Li and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who were joined by leaders from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

The six agreed to deepen cooperation with the principle of equality, inclusiveness and real action, Li said at a press conference held after the meeting.

The leaders agreed in a joint statement, the Phnom Penh Declaration, to enhance connectivity between their countries to accelerate industrialization, urbanization, trade and financial integration. They also called for greater cooperation in managing and utilizing water resources.

The stated goal of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation forum, created by China in 2014, is to promote sustainable development and boost the quality of life for the millions living on the waterway.

The framework spans connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resource management, and agriculture and poverty reduction, benefiting dozens of millions of people.

The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea. The river is vital to Southeast Asia, where more than 60 million people rely on it and its tributaries for food, water and transport.

The world’s 12th-longest river, the Lancang runs nearly 5,000 kilometers. The river’s basin is home to up to 1,700 fish species, making it the most diverse basin after the Amazon and Congo.

Since the forum’s establishment, China has set aside billions of dollars to support 45 projects including water resource research centers and cooperation on connectivity projects, industrial capacity, border trade, agriculture and poverty alleviation.

Discord often arises among countries on the upstream and downstream of a river, Li said, noting that China wants to effectively handle the relationship of such kind and accommodate interests of all countries to build a community with a shared future for the Lancang-Mekong nations.

“China needs a peaceful neighboring environment to facilitate its modernization drive and poverty reduction. We propose to build the LMC mechanism due to the high complementarity between China and the other five countries,” he said.

Emboldened by the rapid evolution of the LMC from its nurturing stage into its current growth period, the leaders intended to further strengthen the cooperation in the five priority areas of connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction, and aim to collaborate on larger sub-regional projects so as to jointly build a LMC Economic Development Belt.

They pledged to cooperate in the fields of politics and security; economy and sustainable development; social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges; as well as cooperation supports.


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