BANGKOK — China will continue to play a leading role in pursuing inclusive and sustainable development of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), said a permanent representative of China to a United Nations (UN) regional commission.
“China has accumulated a great amount of experience and achievements over the past decades of development, and wishes to share them with GMS countries,” Li Hong, China’s permanent representative to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, told Xinhua ahead of the fifth summit of the GMS Economic Cooperation in Thailand.
The GMS Economic Cooperation Program was started in 1992 by the six countries along the Mekong River — Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
China has always participated in GMS cooperation in an active manner, and contributed greatly to subregional connectivity by sharing its benefits of development and technical skills with other countries, Li noted.
China’s initiatives, including the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt, are in tandem with the general strategy of the subregion, according to the official.
“For instance, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will bring fresh opportunities for GMS infrastructure development,” he said.
GMS cooperation spans 10 fields from transportation, energy, agriculture, tourism to trade facilitation, involving 92 priority projects.
Transportation-related infrastructure projects are of paramount importance, Li said, adding that projects like the East-West and North-South economic corridors have enhanced regional connectivity.
He also stressed the significance of cultural exchanges, which aim at “sharing tourism resources, promoting personnel exchanges and cultivating a sense of community”.
While strengthening physical connectivity, the GMS also needs to break down policy barriers, and further facilitate trade by setting up an alliance of enterprises, chambers of commerce and industry associations, Li noted.
He suggested that the GMS better crack down on crimes such as human trafficking in order to guarantee security for personnel exchanges.
At the upcoming summit, China will propose new initiatives regarding regional connectivity, investment, waterway regulation and economic-corridor cooperation.
“China will continue to play a positive role and march toward prosperity side by side with other GMS countries,” Li said.