HANOI — “China’s initiatives and activeness have so far contributed to boosting practical cooperation in the Mekong-Lancang framework,” a Vietnamese scholar stated recently.
“Vietnam welcomes and highly appreciates the initiatives and goodwill cooperation of China, not only in the bilateral framework but also in Mekong-Lancang and ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) — China frameworks,” Tran Viet Thai, deputy general director of the Institute for Foreign Strategic Studies at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, told Xinhua.
At a recent ministerial meeting in the Chinese province of Yunnan, China proposed to help downstream Mekong countries, including Vietnam, improve their management, supervision and regulation capacity.
“This will create conditions for the countries to better manage Mekong water resources in their territories, provide better supervision and make for more effective use of their water resources,” Thai commented.
Vietnam and China have put forward coordinated initiatives to help accelerate the implementation of China’s initiatives and cooperation between China and the downstream Mekong countries, he said, adding that Vietnam proposed the establishment of a hotline to provide more timely and effective information.
Under the current Mekong-Lancang cooperation framework, cooperation on sustainable water resources management is one of five focal cooperation fields.
Due to differences between upstream and downstream countries, sustainable and balanced water resources management is particularly crucial and essential to all the countries, the Vietnamese scholar said.
Besides water resources cooperation, the Mekong-Lancang cooperation framework has other cooperation fields such as human resources training, production and infrastructure connectivity.
“Projects in the early harvest list have scored positive achievements and made important contribution to cooperation between ASEAN and China,” Thai stated.
Therefore, in the long term, the Mekong-Lancang cooperation will focus not only on water issues but also on other fields which will benefit all sides, such as production connectivity, human resources training and agricultural development.
“These fields offer many opportunities and potentials for cooperation,” he said.
The second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders’ Meeting was held in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Jan 10, with the theme of “Our River of Peace and Sustainable Development.” The meeting gathered leaders from China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.
The meeting concluded on the same day with the approval of a Five-year Action Plan (2018-2022), the first of its kind since the establishment of the LMC mechanism, and will serve as a guideline for LMC’s future development in the coming years.
Originating from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Southwest China, the river is called Lancang in China and Mekong as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, before emptying into the sea.
More than 326 million people live along the 4,880-km-long waterway, which flows through an area of more than 795,000 square kilometers.