China has called for greater trade connectivity among Countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation by aligning with the new land-sea corridor under the Belt & Road Initiative.
The proposal, made by State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday at the Fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers Meeting in the Laotian capital Vientiane, was positively received by participants.
It would allow products from Lancang-Mekong countries to directly enter markets in the central and western regions of China, and then be transported to Central Asia and Europe, Wang said at a joint news conference with Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith after the meeting.
According to Wang, better infrastructure interconnectivity and greater facilitation of trade and customs clearance can drive cooperation in terms of production capacity, cross-border business and industrial park development, thus speeding up the building of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Economic Development Belt.
Building the Economic Development Belt was a consensus reached at the second LMC leaders’ meeting in 2018. Its core intention is to rely on the Lancang-Mekong golden waterway and utilise key industrial towns and major infrastructure projects to cover and facilitate the development of the entire Lancang-Mekong River basin.
Wang also called for joint efforts to cope with the severe drought along the Lancang River, also known as the Mekong River outside of China.
China, which also experiences droughts, has overcome its own difficulties and managed to release more water from the Lancang River to help mitigate the drought, he said at the news conference.
China will consider sharing information on hydrology with Mekong countries, Wang said, adding that it is agreed upon that cooperation within the framework of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation will be strengthened to ensure the reasonable and sustainable use of water resources.
Countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation also agreed to jointly fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic challenges by continuing to share epidemic information, enhance communication and coordinate action.
The countries will also explore building a joint mechanism to deal with major public health emergencies and dedicate themselves to improving people’s health and healthcare quality.
Wang said that the foreign ministers’ meeting, held amid the epidemic outbreak, demonstrated the spirit of working together to endure difficult times for LMC countries.
China has full confidence it will win the fight against the virus through joint efforts and safeguarding people’s health and security within the sub-region, he said.
While expressing firm support for China’s combat against the contagion, participating foreign ministers said they believed that China will win the fight soon.