Beijing — The first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation leaders’ meeting is set to begin on March 23 in Sanya, Hainan province, the Foreign Ministry announced on March 17.
After a welcoming banquet on March 22, Premier Li Keqiang will gather with leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam the following day, said Liu Zhenmin, vice-minister of foreign affairs.
Focusing on the theme “Shared River, Shared Future”, the leaders will exchange views on promoting the LMC framework, strengthening all-around cooperation and advancing regional integration.
Liu said their discussions are expected to produce consensus documents on cooperation among the six countries.
“China will also announce measures to support the LMC framework,” he said.
Premier Li is expected to elaborate on the development of the framework and announce a series of proposals and measures that will keep it on track.
Key areas of the cooperation have included improving connectivity, industrial capacity cooperation and agriculture, deepening cross-border economic cooperation, making proper use of water resources and reducing poverty.
The Lancang-Mekong River originates in China’s Qinghai province and flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is known as the Lancang along the Chinese stretch.
The first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation meeting of foreign ministers was held in Yunnan province in November, after the Premier had proposed the LMC framework in November 2014 at the 17th China-ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Xu Liping, a senior fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the first LMC leaders’ meeting will mark a high point in the LMC framework.
“There have been quite a few similar cooperation mechanisms along the area, yet they were not very efficient in general. The LMC framework has been moving quite efficiently since it was first proposed in late 2014,” Xu said.
“I am looking forward to seeing that the first meeting of LMC leaders will bring out a detailed schedule on future leaders meetings, in such matters as locations, regularity and topics to be further discussed.”