Signs adorn a road in Sanya, Hainan province, congratulating the city on hosting the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting, which takes place on March 23.
Premier Li Keqiang will attend a welcoming dinner on March 22 before meeting with leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam the following day.
During the gathering, Premier Li will hold bilateral meetings with leaders from the five countries. He will also meet the media together with Thai Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Premier Li is also expected to elaborate on the development of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework and announce a series of proposals and measures to keep it on track.
Key areas of cooperation include improving connectivity, industrial capacity cooperation and agriculture, deepening cross-border economic cooperation, making proper use of water resources and reducing poverty.
Chen Fengying, director of the World Economy Department at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said, “I believe this upcoming meeting is a very good start for regional cooperation in the Lancang-Mekong region.
“I place the highest priority on regional connectivity, because this is how the Lancang-Mekong mechanism operates rapidly and effectively.”
Chen said this framework operates effectively, compared with other regional ones, because the areas for cooperation are now much broader, while previous frameworks focused on water resources and agriculture.
The Mekong River is known as the Lancang in China.
Nyunt Maung Shein, chairman of the Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies, said that under current cooperation programs countries on the upper reaches of the river such as China, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos have worked together on irrigation along the waterway.