Laos: Lancang-Mekong countries set to enhance cooperation
Leaders of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) countries will hold talks this week in Cambodia aiming to enhance cooperation among the six nations.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will lead a Lao delegation to the 2nd LMC Leaders’ Meeting in Phnom Penh, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.
The two-day visit to Cambodia from January 10-11 by Mr Thongloun is in response to an invitation from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The LMC countries, which the Mekong River runs through, comprise Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Mekong is called Lancang in China.
Cooperation documents are expected to be endorsed at the summit, Xinhua News Agency’s Bangkok Bureau reported on Friday.
The first document is the Five-year Plan of Action (2018-2022) to enforce cooperation and development projects, according to the Chinese news agency, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
Another document is the Phnom Penh Declaration that underscores the countries’ political will on cooperation in various aspects.
The LMC was initiated by China in 2015 and the first summit took place in Sanya, China in 2016. The first summit identified three pillars of cooperation: politics and security; economics and sustainable development; and society, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
The Lao foreign ministry said leaders at next week’s summit would review cooperation among the countries over the past years in line with the Sanya Declaration. The leaders will also discuss plans for future cooperation.
At the end of the summit, Cambodia will hand over its co-chairmanship to Laos, which means Laos will co-chair the MLC with China for 2018-2020.
It was reported that the Five-year Plan, which is expected to be endorsed by the summit, was approved at the 3rd LMC Foreign Ministers’ meeting held in Dali, southwest China’s Yunnan province, from December 14-16.
Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Saleumxay Kommasith, told his Chinese counterpart, Mr Wang Yiat, in bilateral talks during his visit to China that Laos supported the five-year plan.
Mr Wang Yi told the 3rd LMC Foreign Ministers’ meeting that the six riparian countries shared a common destiny.
The foreign ministers agreed that the LMC had moved from a nurturing period to a period of growth and that all member countries should make a greater effort to advance economic and social development, narrow development gaps, and support Asean community building.
The ministers also agreed to synergise LMC through the development strategies of each member country, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the relevant development programmes of Asean.