Participating delegations at the Mekong - Lancang Foreign Ministers' Meeting pose for a photo (Photo: VNA)

Binh Duong (VNA) – Cooperation among six countries that share the Mekong – Lancang River should focus on water management for mutual benefit and sustainable growth in the region, said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

He made the statement at the second Mekong-Lancang Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on December 22 – 23.

Minh stressed that the Mekong-Lancang cooperation mechanism should promote regional connectivity and support member countries in conducting major infrastructure projects.

The development of transnational trade corridors and improvement of capacity in executing trade-commerce policies are other priorities, he added.

He pointed to the necessity of having an agriculture sector that is sustainable, competitive and climate-change resilient.

Minh listed a number of measures to achieve the green farming industry that include supporting the application of advanced technologies and forming a value chain in the region.

The diplomat stated that mutual benefit and effective coordination are key to successful outcomes of the partnership.

Minh proposed installing a hotline among involved nations for emergencies, such as sudden water discharges, water pollution and drought.

He also suggested the establishment of an ad hoc group to study measures boosting joint projects between the Mekong – Lancang Cooperation bloc and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and requirements to include China and Myanmar as MRC members.

During their second meeting, participants from the six Mekong countries – China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – discussed progress made in their affiliations after the first meeting in China last year and mapped out future joint projects.

They took note of achievements obtained by the partnership so far, including forming cooperation mechanism and agenda with three pillars (security-politics, trade – sustainable growth and social culture – people-to-people exchange) and five priorities (water source, production capacity, trans-border trade, agriculture and poverty alleviation).

They said their joint work has been enhanced through the establishment of specialised working groups.

As a result, a number of early harvest projects (implemented within short timeline) have been completed, such as those on personnel exchange, women’s forum and tourism forum.

Participating ministers agreed to design a 5-year action plan and launch a special Mekong – Lancang fund, to which China donated 300 million USD, to support collaboration among member states.

They agreed to set up a Mekong – Lancang coordination agency of each member, speed up the implementation of approved early harvest programmes, and devise new projects of this type.

The meeting was concluded, with the foreign ministers issuing a joint press release, a report on the implementation of early harvest programmes, and a set of regulations on the establishment of the special ad hoc group.

The next meeting is slated for 2017 in China.

The Mekong River Commission consist of four downstream Mekong countries that are Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.-VNA