The third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Mekong – Lancang Cooperation (MLC) took place in Dali, the southwest China’s Yunnan province on December 15, with the attendance of foreign ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, China and Vietnam.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted Vietnam’s active and effective contributions to building the MLC working mechanism and proposing practical ideas for cooperation.
He acknowledged the MLC’s prominent outcomes in the past two years, hailing China’s role and the proactive engagement of Mekong countries.
He suggested that MLC should focus on enhancing sustainable management and use of Mekong River water resources to balance interests and responsibility of countries along the river.
Collaboration between MLC and the Mekong River Commission will better meet countries’ demand in data sharing, joint research and management capacity improvement, he said.
The Deputy PM reiterated Vietnam’s proposal to establish a hotline among MLC member countries to deal with emergency situation in Mekong River, the first of its kind for the six countries sharing the Mekong river.
Minh also called for enhancing joint work to develop a competitive agricultural sector that is resilient to climate change and able to engage in regional and global value chains by upgrading regional transport infrastructure and improving human resources training to meet demand amid the fourth industrial revolution.
Participants reviewed the implementation of outcomes of the first and second meetings and discussed measures to promote regional sustainable development.
Over the past two years, MLC member countries have completed many early-harvest projects, established a secretariat/ national coordinating centre in each country and the MLC Special Fund.
Youth exchanges, cultural and tourism cooperation held in the framework have raised mutual understanding and friendship among peoples.
The ministers agreed that MLC should do more to help narrow development gap and support the building of ASEAN Community. They approved the list of projects eligible for financial assistance provided by MLC Special Fund.
In preparation for the second MLC Summit slated for January 10 - 11, 2018 in Cambodia, the ministers agreed on contents of several documents for submission to MLC leaders, including the MLC Action Plan for 2018-2022 and the list of MLC projects, second stage.
The same day, Deputy PM Minh held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the occasion.
The Deputy PM Minh asked China to take effective measures to further boost bilateral economic-trade ties and ease Vietnam’s trade deficit, invest in projects using advanced and eco-friendly technology, as well as extend mutually-beneficial collaboration in agriculture, environment, climate change response and science-technology.
On issues at sea, he took note of recent progress in negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China. He urged ASEAN and China to soon discuss practical contents of the COC while continuing with full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and building trust, contributing to maintaining peace, stability and security in the East Sea.
The two sides vowed to facilitate high-level visits and direct ministries, agencies and localities to effective implement existing agreements and common perceptions reached by high-ranking leaders.
Also on the day, the Vietnamese Deputy PM attended the inaugural of a photo exhibition on MLC achievements and the official website of the MLC Secretariat.