PHNOM PENH — With the inaugural Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders’ meeting scheduled to open this week in China, Cambodia said the LMC is important for all Lancang-Mekong countries to maintain regional peace and stability and to boost economic development.
Premier Li Keqiang is due to meet with the leaders from the Mekong River countries — Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam — on March 23 in Sanya in southern China’s Hainan province.
In a written response to Xinhua’s questions by the Cambodian Foreign Ministry’s Mekong (River) Department recently, the department said the LMC would contribute to ASEAN integration and ASEAN Community building and achieve its objectives through three cooperation pillars, namely political and security issues, economic and sustainable development, and social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
“The LMC mechanism will reinforce and enhance ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership, Greater Mekong Sub-region, ASEAN-Mekong Basin Development Cooperation, and synergy between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and LMC activities and projects in five priority areas,” the foreign ministry said.
The five areas are connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, agriculture and poverty alleviation, it added.
The department said the current key challenges for the LMC are an increasing downward trend of the global and regional economy, poverty reduction, development gaps, water resources management, and nontraditional security threats such as terrorism, natural disasters, climate change, environmental problems, and pandemics.
“To deal with those challenges, the LMC shall promote high-level exchanges, dialogue and cooperation to enhance mutual trust and understanding and implement the Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction in East Asia,” it said.
The LMC needs to deepen law enforcement and security cooperation through information exchange, capacity building, and coordination of joint operations, establish a center in China for LMC water resources cooperation, and strengthen cooperation against nontraditional security threats, the department said.
According to the ministry, China is the key partner with the Mekong countries to implement the vision of the LMC.
Commenting on the upcoming LMC leaders’ meeting, the ministry’s department said the summit will be held under the theme: “Shared River-Shared Future”, and Cambodia will focus on domestic and regional infrastructure and logistics for connectivity, growth and development, poverty reduction, climate change, as well as environmental problems.
Besides, Cambodia will concentrate on production capacity cooperation, ASEAN connectivity, as well as cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation.
It said that Cambodia will benefit greatly from the LMC mechanism since it will help Cambodia boost economic and social development, support Cambodia’s Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025, enhance connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction.
The LMC mechanism will also help Cambodia strengthen cooperation in public health, particularly in the areas of epidemic monitoring, joint prevention, and increase cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation, it added.