HO CHI MINH CITY, April 1 (Xinhua) -- China and Mekong River countries have joined hands to strive for better regional integration, economic growth and sustainable development, an official with the Mekong River Commission (MRC) said.
Pham Tuan Phan, chief executive officer of the MRC Secretariat, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Saturday.
He said the sixth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation, which took place in Vietnam, defined the Hanoi Action Plan and the Regional Investment Framework with nearly 230 projects with a cost of 66 billion U.S. dollars.
In 2017, the trade volume between China and the five Mekong countries - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - reached 220 billion U.S. dollars, up 16 percent from 2016.
China's total investment in the five countries exceeded 42 billion U.S. dollars, with a growth rate of more than 20 percent in 2017.
China, as a member of the GMS which also includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, has participated not only in the GMS economic cooperation program over the past 25 years, but also in sustainable management and development of the Mekong River.
"There are many activities for China and other GMS countries, especially Vietnam, to collaborate in various areas of socioeconomic development," Phan said,
According to him, the MRC and the GMS programs have different priorities regarding Mekong cooperation, but the two sides will step up cooperation after gaining fine initial cooperation results.
"The cooperation between the two sides will supplement each other, and create a solid premise for the development of the Mekong River in both socioeconomic development and environment, benefiting people in the Mekong region," Phan said.
Established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement, MRC is an intergovernmental organization for regional dialogue and cooperation in the lower Mekong river basin.