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Interview: China plays active role in promoting development in Lancang-Mekong sub-region, says Cambodian diplomat

Updated: March 20, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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PHNOM PENH, March 19 (Xinhua) -- China has played an active role in promoting sustainable development in the Lancang-Mekong sub-region over the past eight years, a Cambodia's senior diplomat said on Tuesday.

Meas Kim Heng, secretary of state of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Cooperation and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) leader of Cambodia, said China has set up the LMC special fund to support LMC countries in carrying out prioritized economic, social and livelihood projects over the past years.

"These projects have contributed to peace, stability and prosperity in the Lancang-Mekong sub-region," he told Xinhua.

Kim Heng said China has attached great importance to connectivity and the economic front, by accelerating its investment and development support both bilaterally and multilaterally in the LMC region to advance the Lancang-Mekong Economic Development Belt.

He added that China has promoted people-to-people exchanges, technology and digital transformation, as well as worked to build a community of a shared future of peace, stability, sustainable development and prosperity in the Lancang-Mekong sub-region and beyond.

The LMC countries comprise China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Their collaboration focuses on three main pillars, namely political and security cooperation, economic and sustainable development and social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Also, the LMC mechanism gives priority to five key areas, namely connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources management and agriculture, and poverty reduction.

"Since its inception in 2016, the LMC framework has greatly contributed to promoting socio-economic development in the Mekong sub-region, reducing the development gap and promoting comprehensive cooperation among Mekong countries," Kim Heng said.

He said the five-year LMC Plan of Action (2018-2022), with over 700 projects, had been implemented successfully, greatly benefiting each member country and improving the well-being of the people in the Lancang-Mekong sub-region.

"Cambodia, in particular, has benefited from 89 projects totalling over 33 million U.S. dollars that supported various priority areas such as poverty reduction, agriculture, education, health, media, tourism, information and technology, and women empowerment, among others," he said.

Kim Heng said the adoption of the five-year LMC Plan of Action (2023-2027) late last year signalled a commitment of Lancang-Mekong countries to further work together to promote peace, stability, sustainable growth in the spirit of friendship, cooperation, mutual trust and respects.

"The LMC framework will continue to serve as a positive catalyst in transforming our sub-region, not only to complement the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, but also to support the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as to ensure the realization of the Lancang-Mekong Economic Development Belt in synergy with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor," he said.

Kim Heng said amidst the global uncertainty and geopolitical competition, the LMC framework has been very much welcomed by Mekong countries as it demonstrates the true spirit of good cooperation in all areas between Lancang-Mekong countries.

"The LMC has provided practical benefits to our people and contributed to social and economic development in the Lancang-Mekong sub-region," he said.

"Our LMC countries have always fostered closer and friendly relations and advocated for win-win cooperation, mutual trust and respect, and dialogue while taking into account each other's viewpoints for the betterment of the common good in the sub-region," he said.

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia