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Vietnam puts forward 4 key pillars for Mekong-Lancang Cooperation

Vietnam puts forward 4 key pillars for Mekong-Lancang Cooperation

Friday, December 08, 2023, 16:46 GMT+7
Vietnam puts forward 4 key pillars for Mekong-Lancang Cooperation
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (middle) speaks at the eighth Mekong - Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Beijing, China, December 7, 2023. Photo: Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has said that he highly valued the cooperation between the country members of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) and put forth four priority areas for the mechanism in the future.

Minister Son proposed the four priorities while speaking at the eighth MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which opened in Beijing, China, on Thursday.

The event got together representatives of the six country members of MLC, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The meeting focused on reviewing past cooperation results and discussing new plans for the MLC.

In his speech, Son affirmed that Vietnam treasures and continues actively contributing to the close cooperation between the MLC nations.

In that spirit, Minister Son proposed the four cooperation areas that should be prioritized by all the country members in the foreseeable future. 

He firstly mentioned fundamental industrial development with a gradual transition from processing and assembly to research, design, and production, based on innovation, creativity, and application and transfer of advanced technologies.

Secondly, he called on the MLC countries to boost digital transformation through policy dialogues on digital economy and cybersecurity, to cooperate in developing digital human resources, smart cities, and digitalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and to encourage digital infrastructure construction in manufacturing industries.

Thirdly, environmental protection and green growth transition should be stepped up through cooperation in developing a bio-circular-green economy, clean and renewable energy, and smart agriculture.

In such a transition, it is necessary to accelerate the completion and implementation of the MLC Water Resources Cooperation Action Plan for the period 2023-27, expand the scope of sharing meteorological, hydrological, and dam operation data, and strengthen coordination between MLC and the Mekong River Commission.

Lastly, the minister advised promoting trade cooperation, building smart supply chains, supporting MSMEs’ connection with multinational enterprises, and reforming the investment environment in each country.

Son’s proposals received positive response and support from many other delegates of the meeting.

In reviewing the MLC’s past operations, the meeting applauded the effective cooperation in various fields, including water resource use and management, cross-border economy, agricultural development, poverty reduction, connectivity between the MLC members, flood forecasting, and natural disaster prevention.

The MLC Special Fund has supported country members in developing over 700 projects relating to trade, agriculture, tourism, health, women empowerment, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, water resource planning and management, and others.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized that the MLC, which was set up in 2015, is a mechanism that comes from the people and for the people, while proposing that the organization support the development strategies of country members.

All ministers agreed to consider the possibility of establishing the people-centered Mekong-Lancang Innovation Corridor as well as developing the Mekong-Lancang Economic Belt, in order to boost application of advanced technologies to economic development, strengthen infrastructure connectivity, facilitate trade and investment, promote green growth, and support clean energy transition.

The delegates pledged to foster education and tourism cooperation and expand people-to-people exchanges. 

The meeting expressed their support for Vietnam to host the second MLC Ministerial Meeting on Water Resources in 2024.

The Mekong River has a total length of about 4,880km, stemming from China and flowing through all six country members of MLC.

The river’s section going through Chinese territory is called Lancang.

The Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia, the seventh longest in Asia, and the 12th longest in the world.   

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Vinh Tho - Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre News

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