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Wang Yi Elaborates on Five Priorities and Three Important Supports in Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation

On November 12, 2015, Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted at the first foreign ministers' meeting on Lancang-Mekong River cooperation held in Jinghong of Yunnan Province that to promote the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation, priorities should be given in five directions including connectivity and production capacity, trans-border economy, water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction, and important supports should be provided in three aspects including policy, finance and intelligence.

With regards to connectivity, Wang Yi expressed that the Kunming-Bangkok International Expressway has opened to traffic. China and the five nations along the Mekong River have all carried out cooperation in roads, railways, fiber-optic communication and other sectors. The six nations should map out the overall plan for sub-regional connectivity along the “four routes” of the border lines, the Mekong River, roads and the railways, focus on promoting the upgrading and construction of the Pan-Asia railway network, push forward the construction of the transportation network including the railways linking China and Thailand as well as China and Laos, and the land and water corridor linking China and Myanmar, and improve the connectivity of the power network and the cable. The two sides should also discuss on the signing of the agreement on transportation facilitation in the sub-region, and intensify communication on the rules and systems.

On the production capacity cooperation, Wang Yi noted that most nations along the Mekong River, which are in the early stage of industrialization, have a strong demand for infrastructure construction. China has accumulated rich experience in infrastructure construction and enjoys advanced industrial equipment and surplus mature production capacity with high cost-performance in steel, cement, electricity, transportation, ship-building and other fields. China is ready to carry out targeted production capacity cooperation with sub-regional countries in accordance with the development plans of respective countries and help relevant nations promote their industrialization process with lower-cost and in faster speed.

On trans-border economic cooperation, Wang Yi expressed that all sides should bring the unique resources along the common border into full play to enhance economic and technological cooperation and construct trans-border economic cooperation zones and industrial parks within the framework of the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Area. China is also willing to actively participate in the construction of the trans-border economic cooperation zones under preparation among the countries along the Mekong River.

With respect to the cooperation in water resources, Wang Yi said that the cooperation among the six countries is originated from the water, and therefore all parties should well protect and utilize the valuable resources and promote development and benefit the peoples through cooperation. China is ready to, together with the countries along the Mekong River, boost experience and technical exchanges, build a cooperation center for Lancang-Mekong River water resources, help relevant nations formulate plans on utilization of water resources, flood control and disaster relief, strengthen the capacity-building on exploration and management of the water resources and thus build the cooperation in water resources into an exemplary field in Lancang-Mekong River cooperation.

With regards to the cooperation in agriculture and poverty reduction, Wang Yi expressed that China stands ready to continue carrying out exchanges in agricultural technology with countries along the Mekong River, establish more centers related to agricultural cooperation, construct quality demonstration fields with high production and demonstration farmland for agricultural products with good quality, and help relevant countries improve their agricultural development. China is ready to earnestly implement the “East Asia Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction” and establish exemplary bases on cooperation in poverty reduction in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and other countries. In the meantime, China will make more efforts to jointly prevent and control the trans-border infectious diseases, improve the sanitary conditions in impoverished regions and cultivate more talents specialized in public health for the nations along the Mekong River.

On the policy support, Wang Yi pointed out that to achieve the sustainable development of Lancang-Mekong River cooperation, the six countries should demonstrate common political will, establish inter-governmental dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, formulate relevant policies and plans, bring the guiding role of the governments into full play and provide political support and policy guidance for Lancang-Mekong River cooperation.

With regards to financial support, Wang Yi expressed that the project cooperation is the foundation and driving force for Lancang-Mekong River cooperation. The six countries should put more emphasis on and increase their input in the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation, take advantage of all resources, and bring respective advantages into full play. China will provide support for the projects related to Lancang-Mekong River cooperation through non-reimbursable assistance, concessional loan, regional cooperation fund and other means, and actively promote the participation of the international financial systems and development funds including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Silk Road Fund.

On the intellectual support, Wang Yi indicated that the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation is a new type of sub-regional cooperation mechanism. The six nations should pool their wisdom and strength, pioneer and innovate, enhance cooperation in talent training, constantly improve the capacity-building and do more to mobilize the role of the think-tanks to provide intellectual guarantee for Lancang-Mekong River cooperation.

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