On 20 February, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith jointly met the press after co-chairing the fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. At the Q&A session, Wang Yi briefed China's considerations on forming synergy between LMC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor to facilitate building the LMC Economic Development Belt.
Wang Yi pointed out that the LMC Economic Development Belt represents the shared aspiration of the six countries. To turn this vision into reality, the priority is to strengthen trade connectivity. The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor is a north-south corridor for trade and industrial cooperation. Linking the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the Corridor extends northward to Central Asia and Europe and southward to Southeast Asia and South Asia, serving dozens of countries and regions. Combining LMC and the Corridor will send directly products from Mekong countries into central and western parts of China, and further to Central Asian and European markets.
Wang Yi noted that the Mekong countries have actively responded to this Chinese idea. Going forward, all parties can have further discussions on how to coordinate and synergize LMC and the Corridor. China makes the following proposals: First, we should support port facilitation and strengthen cooperation in customs and inspection and quarantine for efficient customs clearance. Second, we should improve infrastructure connectivity and remove impediments in the linkage. Third, we should work on mutual recognition of rules and standards and sharing of data and information. We should speed up the development of the "single window" for international trade to enable information sharing on platforms built together. Through these measures, the six countries can achieve trade connectivity at a higher level, further driving cooperation in industrial capacity, cross-border economy and industrial parks. As a result, economy of the whole region will see greater efficiency and development, and the building of the LMC Economic Development Belt will pick up pace.