by Fei Liena, Lu Juan, Mao Pengfei
PHNOM PENH, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The 2nd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders' Meeting is being held here Wednesday, with the leaders from the six LMC countries gathering to discuss the future development of the LMC mechanism.
LANCANG-MEKONG FRUITS, LANCANG-MEKONG SPEED
Against the backdrop of a lackluster world economy and a growing trend of anti-globalization, the LMC mechanism has been radiating a unique charm since its establishment only less than two years ago, with many fruits having been made, and many speed records having been set.
All the six countries have established LMC National Secretariats/Coordination Units ahead of schedule, and have set up six Joint Working Groups on the key priority areas of connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction.
The LMC mechanism has been truly project-centered, with most of its 45 Early Harvest Projects and 13 Initiatives having already been completed or made substantive progress.
The first batch of projects of the LMC Special Fund have been completed, and other funding pledges that China has made is being honored with steady progress.
Based on the Lancang-Mekong river area, the mechanism has also set up the Water Resources Cooperation Center, Lancang-Mekong Environmental Cooperation Center and the Global Mekong River Studies Center, to protect the water resources and environment in the region.
From the specific perspective, the construction of Kunming-Bangkok Road, China-Laos Railway, China-Thailand Railway, Long Jiang Industrial Park in Vietnam, Vientiane Saysettha Development Zone of Laos, Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone in Cambodia, among others, are underway.
DRINKING FROM SAME RIVER, COOPERATING FOR SAME CAUSE
Drinking from the same Lancang-Mekong river, the six riparian countries have a common aspiration for development and prosperity.
Originating from the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in southwest China, the river is called the Lancang River in China and the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the sea.
Suiting the trend of regional economic integration, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism has shown strong vitality since its birth.
Since the official launch of the LMC mechanism in March 2016, it has established a "3+5" mechanism of cooperation, referring to the three cooperation pillars -- political and security issues, economic and sustainable development, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges -- and the five key priority areas of connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, and agriculture and poverty reduction.
Currently Mekong countries are actively pushing forward the industrialization process. China has experience, technology and capital advantages on areas such as infrastructure construction and poverty reduction, thus benefitting Mekong countries and stimulating joint development in the sub-region.
China has now established comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation with all five Mekong countries. Chheang Vannarith, vice-chairman of the board of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, said the second LMC leaders' meeting reflects the leaders' joint efforts and commitment to build a community of shared future in the sub-region.
"The second LMC leaders' meeting will be another milestone in deepening political trust, fostering practical cooperation, and promoting comprehensive regional connectivity," he told Xinhua.
The 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Dec. 15 agreed to synergize the LMC with the development strategies of each member country, the Belt and Road Initiative and relevant development programs of ASEAN.
Sok Siphana, an advisor to the Cambodian government, said the LMC would contribute to supporting the ASEAN community-building and narrowing development gaps among ASEAN member states.
"For ASEAN, we have the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity (2025), we have also the three pillars, which are the same as the Lancang-Mekong, so any activities that the LMC do will support the implementation of the ASEAN objectives," he said.