|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the virtual third Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting on August 24 (Photo: VNA)
Themed "Enhancing Partnership for Shared Prosperity", the meeting reviewed the MLC’s recent cooperation and discussed orientations to promote its collaboration in the coming period.
Regarding the cooperation results, the leaders highlighted important progress made since the second Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting such as progress in cooperation in Mekong River water management, including the organization of the first Ministerial Meeting of Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation, and the initiation of cooperation between the MLC and the Mekong River Commission. More than 300 technical assistance projects have been implemented with the support of the MLC Special Fund while the Mekong Research Centre and specialised cooperation centres were established.
Regarding the future cooperation orientations, the leaders reaffirmed their determination to jointly build a MLC region of peace, stability, sustainable development and prosperity; and agreed to promote cooperation on three specific pillars.
On security - politics, the countries agreed to maintain high-level exchanges; strengthen dialogue between political parties, parliarments, governments and localities; and promote cooperation in solving non-traditional security issues and in public health to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and restore economic growth. The meeting welcomed China's proposal to establish the MLC Special Fund for public health to support the regional countries’ response to the pandemic and the health sector later.
In terms of economy and sustainable development, the MLC countries will promote regional connectivity in both hard and soft infrastructure; facilitate investment trade and public-private cooperation; step up cooperation in rural development and poverty reduction, development of digital economy and science-technology, management and sustainable use of water resources in the Mekong River, environment and biodiversity protection.
Regarding culture - society and people-to-people exchange, they will implement educational cooperation activities and training programmes to develop high-quality human resources that meet market demand in the era of the fourth Industrial Revolution; while promoting tourism cooperation and cultural exchange.
They also agreed to make more effective use of the MLC Special Fund and improve the quality and practicality of the project, thereby bringing pragmatic benefits to the people of the six countries.
The leaders spent much time discussing cooperation in the management and use of water resources in the Mekong River. They agreed that in the face of the increasingly serious impacts of climate change, riparian countries should further promote the sharing of hydrological data of river basins, conduct joint research and policy dialogue, manage floods and droughts, and closely coordinate with the Mekong River Commission.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China is ready to share the year-round hydrological data of the Lancang River, which is a section of the Mekong River flowing through the Chinese territory, and wishes to discuss the building of a channel sharing hydrological data between Mekong-Lancang countries and the implementation of joint cooperation projects on flood and natural disaster warning.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the criteria that the MLC needs to ensure to successfully realise the set objectives for a MLC region of peace, prosperity and sustainable development. They are cooperation on the basis of trust, sincere, and frank and friendly relations; ensuring the principles of equality, consensus, mutual benefit, and respect for international law; and taking people-centered and sustainable development as a consistent content.
He stressed the need to attach importance to finding solutions to common challenges and ensuring the legitimate interests of the member countries.
The MLC’s activities must be conducted on the basis of promoting the strengths of the member countries, he said, adding that the regional countries should work harmoniously with ASEAN and other Mekong cooperation mechanisms.
In the context of the region facing unprecedented challenges, the PM emphasised that the MLC should focus on cooperation to minimise the negative effects of the COVID-19 and prevent disruptions in the supply chain, as well as to meet the production and business needs of enterprises.
They need to share information on and experience in COVID-19 prevention and control in a regular, timely and transparent manner; and promote cooperation in vaccine production and facilitate vaccine access, Phuc said.
The country should also cooperate in the use and management of Mekong River water resources and seek long-term solutions to the sustainable development of the basin; share year-round hydrological information and data; strengthen the network of automatic water resources monitoring stations; consolidate natural disaster forecasting and warning systems; and coordinate with the Mekong River Commission and international partners.
At the end of the meeting, the leaders of the six member countries adopted the Vientiane Declaration and witnessed the transfer of the role of MLC co-chair from Laos to Myanmar.