Aerial photo taken on July 24, 2020 shows the China-Laos Railway's Ban Ladhan Mekong River Super Major Bridge in Laos. (Photo by Pan Longzhu/Xinhua)
The third LMC leaders' meeting will be held via video link on Monday. The meeting is crucial to fighting COVID-19 and setting direction to promote socio-economic development in the sub-region, Cambodian experts have said.
PHNOM PENH, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The upcoming third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting is crucial to fighting the COVID-19 and setting direction to promote post-COVID-19 socio-economic development in the sub-region, Cambodian experts have said.
The third LMC leaders' meeting will be held via video link on Monday. The LMC, initiated by China in 2014, consists of six countries, namely China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Joseph Matthews, senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said the upcoming meeting is very important. "I think the meeting will deliberate and discuss the LMC collective efforts in addressing the COVID-19 crisis and strategically planning on how to promote socio-economic development and recovery in the post-COVID-19 era," he told Xinhua.
China has always supported LMC countries' development, Matthews said, adding Cambodia and other countries have greatly benefited through the infrastructure development of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and China's willingness to share its technological advances.
He said China has also been helping other LMC countries in their human resources management and development and in promoting agricultural businesses among LMC countries by importing agricultural products and equipping farmers with the latest farming technology and equipment.
On building the LMC Economic Development Belt, Matthews said it will definitely boost the sub-regional economy and alleviate poverty.
Photo taken on April 4, 2016, shows the site of fast-flowing river surging downstream to the Mekong Delta in Ben Tre province, Vietnam. (Xinhua/Thanh Hung)
"I strongly believe that the LMC Economic Development Belt in the sub-region will be a driving force for promoting multilateralism, free and fair market economy, inclusiveness ..." he said, noting that it will open a new door of opportunity and investment in the sub-region.
Echoing Matthews, Chheang Vannarith, president of the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, said the meeting will be a good opportunity for the LMC countries to reassert joint commitment to deepen sub-regional cooperation and connectivity and to build consensus.
"Since the first LMC leaders' meeting in Sanya of southern China's Hainan province in 2016, the LMC has progressed quite well ... political trust has been deepened," he said, also noting that the LMC Economic Development Belt presents new opportunities for the LMC countries to expand export markets to China and beyond.
Mey Kalyan, senior advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council, said that given the ongoing pandemic, the meeting is extremely crucial and timely. "There's an urgent need to find solutions to survive and prosper together," he told Xinhua. "Clearly, when lives are threatened, no prosperity can be achieved."
The pandemic, as well as flood or drought, threatens people's lives, so it's essential for the LMC countries to work together closely to address such challenges, he said.
The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through the other five countries before emptying into the sea. ■