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Premier Li eyes more Lancang-Mekong cooperation

China will shoulder its responsibility to enhance cooperation between countries along the Lancang-Mekong river, Premier Li Keqiang said in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Jan 10 at a meeting of a fledgling organization set up to coordinate projects on this important international waterway.

Leaders from China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam gathered at the second Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders’ Meeting.

China is the permanent chair of the LMC, which Premier Li claimed is inclusive and complementary with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China’s purpose in initiating the mechanism in 2014 was to maintain stability and peace in the region and to forge stronger partnerships in culture and the economy, he said.

Grouping six countries, the LMC focuses on five priority areas: connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources management, as well as agriculture and poverty reduction.

The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Southwest China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the sea.

During the meeting, there were more than 200 projects proposed in the areas of agriculture, hydroelectric power, transportation and people-to-people exchanges.

Premier Li said China will cooperate with LMC countries in education, encouraging students and inviting senior officials to study in China.

During a two-day visit to Cambodia, Premier Li will also meet with Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, hold talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and witness the signing of cooperation agreements.