On 20 February, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the press together with Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith of Laos after attending the Fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. Wang Yi said that LMC is now moving from a period of rapid expansion to a period of all-round development, and on the basis of implementing existing projects, priorities can be placed on promoting cooperation in the following aspects:
First, make greater efforts to build the Lancang-Mekong Economic Development Belt. Starting from connectivity in trade, LMC should be linked with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. Infrastructure connectivity should be strengthened and trade and customs clearance facilitation be enhanced to further advance cooperation in production capacity, cross-border economy and industrial parks. The growth of the economic development belt should be accelerated to inject robust new impetus into LMC cooperation.
Second, jointly combat the challenge of the epidemic. The six countries will continue to share information on the epidemic, strengthen exchanges and coordinate actions so as to resolutely fight and prevail over it. A long-term view should be taken and efforts should be made to explore the establishment of a joint mechanism for dealing with major public health emergencies in order to improve the health and medical level of the people in the region.
Third, work hand in hand to deal with the drought in the region. Areas along the Lancang-Mekong river have recently suffered a severe drought. Though China itself has also been afflicted by the drought and a serious shortage of precipitations in the upper reaches, it has overcome various difficulties to increase the water discharge of the Lancang River and help Mekong countries alleviate the impact of the drought. China will also consider sharing with the Mekong countries hydrological information for the whole year. We agree to further strengthen cooperation under the LMC framework to ensure reasonable and sustainable use of water resources.
Fourth, promote the upgrading of agricultural cooperation. Agriculture is of great significance for economic development and improvement of people's livelihood in LMC countries. We will make good use of the agricultural cooperation mechanism under LMC to promote mutual recognition of standards and product certification, strengthen the building of quality and safety systems, and raise the competitiveness of agricultural products. We will be glad to see more agricultural products from countries along the Mekong river enter the Chinese market.
Fifth, focus on enhancing people's sense of fulfillment. The original aspiration and mission of LMC is to deliver benefits to the people. We will give priority to advancing cooperation on improving people's livelihood through the LMC Special Fund. This year, the Fund will support 152 projects in the six countries, covering a wide range of areas with a clear focus on real results and on improving people's well-being so that more people will benefit from it.
Sixth, jointly maintain peace and stability in the subregion. The six countries will strengthen exchanges in governance, cooperate to deal with security challenges such as natural disasters, drug-related crimes, terrorism and online gambling and strengthen exchanges between local governments in border areas and border management departments so as to safeguard people-to-people exchanges and trade.
Seventh, seek coordinated development with other regional mechanisms. We will actively explore ways to strengthen exchanges with mechanisms such as Greater Mekong Subregion Cooperation (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to jointly carry out projects, form synergies and work hand in hand to boost sub-regional economic and social development.