Laos supports Mekong-Lancang cooperation, a bright future expected
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos will do everything it can to help the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) deliver as many tangible benefits as possible to the people of the Mekong region.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Thongphane Savanhphet, conveyed this message at an event to mark the 3rd anniversary of cooperation between the countries of the Mekong, which took place in Vientiane yesterday.
The celebration ceremony was attended by Chinese Ambassador to Laos, Jiang Zaidong.
The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation was officially established on March 23, 2016 at the 1st MLC Leaders’ Meeting. At this meeting the leaders of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam pledged commitment to promote peace, stability and the development of the region in connection with the rest of the world.
Mr Thongphane said yesterday the MLC is important for all the member countries and that relations have only improved since the first meeting three years ago.
The countries have worked well together in implementing the Sanya Declaration, the Phnom Penh Declaration, the Five-Year Plan of Action of MLC (2018-2022), the Early Harvest Projects, MLC Special Fund Projects, the Brightness Journey, and poverty reduction projects.
The deputy minister also pointed to the Laos-China railway as a significant show of support from China for the development of Laos’ connectivity to neighbouring nations.
“As soon as the railway is operational,” he said, “it will not only help the Mekong countries to better implement the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative, it will also enable Laos to advance its 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Plan. The goal is to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land link within the region.”
Laos will co-chair the MLC with China until 2020. Mr Thongphane conveyed the country’s commitment to work closely to ensure the success of the 3rd MLC Leaders’ Meeting which will take place early next year.
Speaking at the celebration ceremony, Mr Thongphane said this is a special year for Laos and China due to it being Visit Laos-China Year 2019. He said people-to-people exchanges and mutual understanding will benefit all the people of the Mekong Region and China.