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First Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation Held Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation Mechanism Officially
2015/11/12

On November 12, 2015, the first foreign ministers' meeting on Lancang-Mekong River cooperation was held in Jinghong, Yunnan Province. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai of Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong of Cambodia, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin of Myanmar, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh of Viet Nam attended the meeting. Centering on the theme of "Nourished by the Same River, Linked by the Common Destiny", all parties carried out in-depth discussion about further enhancement of cooperation among countries along the Lancang-Mekong River and reached extensive consensus. Besides, they all agreed to launch the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation process and announced the official establishment of the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism.

Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai of Thailand co-chaired the meeting. Wang Yi expressed in his speech that the Mekong River countries and China are linked by mountains and rivers with similar cultures and enjoy deep foundation, wide space and huge potential for cooperation. Currently, regional integration in Asia is undergoing in-depth development and the development potential for the Mekong River countries is becoming increasingly prominent, therefore to forge a cooperation mechanism among the six countries is a natural must that complies with the trend and meets the wishes of the people. The cooperation mechanism emerges timely and naturally and enjoys an important development opportunity. The construction of the cooperation mechanism proposed by Premier Li Keqiang in the China- ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders' meeting last year has received positive responses and strong support of relevant countries, and constantly yielded new results. The six counties should seize the opportunity and make concerted efforts to deepen political mutual trust and strengthen practical cooperation through construction of inter-governmental cooperation mechanisms, enhance connection of hearts of the peoples, and jointly forge a Lancang-Mekong community of shared destiny with mutual benefit, reciprocity as well as win-win cooperation.

Wang Yi pointed out that the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation should be carried out in three key areas of political security, economy and sustainable development, and society and people-to-people and cultural engagement, so as to completely dock with the three major pillars in the construction of the ASEAN community.

In the field of political security, the countries should enhance high-level exchanges, and encourage their parliaments, political parties and non-governmental organizations to strengthen communication, mutual trust and mutual understanding. They should enhance exchanges in governance and administration of state affairs, firmly support each other in taking a development path conforming to their own national conditions, and oppose interference of external forces in internal affairs of regional countries. They should also strengthen cooperation in managing the border areas and jointly cope with non-traditional security threats.

In the area of economy and sustainable development, the countries should combine the overall sub-regional development goals with their own development needs to give play to complementary advantages, actively deepen economic and trade investment, enhance connectivity in software and hardware, and promote coordination and cooperation in financial policies. Besides, the countries should develop and utilize resources and energy rationally and effectively, so as to realize green and sustainable development.

In the sector of society and people-to-people and cultural engagement, the six countries should have active discussion on mutually setting up cultural centers in one another and launching various cultural exchanges so as to carry forward the fine cultural traditions in the region. They should enhance exchanges and cooperation in educational policies, vocational training and other fields, jointly promote development of tourism industry in the sub-region, and actively propel exchanges and cooperation in media, think tank, women, youth and other areas.

Wang Yi emphasized that the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation should be advanced in the principle of starting with easy things first and progressing step by step. According to the actual situation and development demands of the sub-region at the present stage, it should be promoted in five priority directions of connectivity, production capacity cooperation, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources cooperation as well as agriculture and poverty-reduction cooperation. The countries should provide important support in three aspects of policy, finance and intelligence, orient their cooperation to projects and focus on sound implementation. With the spirit of openness and inclusiveness, the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation will be mutually complementary and mutually contributory with other existing cooperation mechanisms in the region and together develop in a harmonious and coordinated way, and jointly promote the development and prosperity in the sub-region by giving play to their respective advantages. China stands ready to work with the Mekong River countries to build the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism into a sub-regional cooperation platform of co-consultation, co-construction and sharing for the six countries, and ensure the smooth start and steady development of the new mechanism, so as to score tangible achievements at an early date, bring substantial benefits to the countries and peoples in the sub-region, and jointly create a better future for the sub-region.

The foreign ministers present highly agreed upon Wang Yi's speech. The co-chair and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai expressed that the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism is the first cooperation mechanism promoted by the six countries hand in hand. As equal partners, their common pursuit of sustainable and inclusive development, filling development gaps and win-win cooperation is of landmark and vital historic significance. The three key cooperation areas proposed by the Chinese side match well with the three pillars of the ASEAN community construction, and will constitute the core of the development of the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism. The Foreign Ministers all spoke highly of the important role of the cooperation mechanism in promoting their countries' development, strengthening sub-regional cooperation and facilitating regional integration, appreciated China's efforts in preparing the meeting, and put forward numerous specific suggestions and ideas centering on the three key areas and the five priority directions.

The meeting deliberated and approved the concept paper on the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism, and agreed to study and carry out as early as possible a batch of "early harvest" projects. At the end of the meeting, in accordance with consensus reached by all parties, Wang Yi announced the official establishment of the Lancang-Mekong River cooperation mechanism. A joint press communiqué was issued at the meeting.

After the meeting, Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai of Thailand jointly met the Chinese and foreign journalists.

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