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Lancang-Mekong Cooperation yields tangible benefits

Member countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) have gained tangible benefits with prospects for greater fruitful cooperation in the years to come, diplomats say.
The encouraging remarks were made as the LMC member countries - Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – celebrated the second anniversary of the LMC last week.

In his address at the First LMC Week in Vientiane last week, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Wang Wentian said the grouping had achieved better-than-expected results.
The bloc was now entering a phase of further growth moving on from the nurturing phase, he added.
Partnership among the countries is based on three pillars of cooperation: political and security issues, economic and sustainable development, and social, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Cooperation covers five key priority areas including connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, and agriculture and poverty reduction, and has identified a lot of early harvest projects. Ambassador Wang said China has set up a RMB10 billion yuan concessional loan, a US$5 billion special loan for production capacity cooperation, and US$5 billion in preferential export buyers’ credit to support infrastructure and production capacity cooperation in the sub-region.
China has also created a special-purpose fund of US$300 million for five years to support small and medium cooperation projects proposed by the six countries.
“To our great delight, with the six countries’ joint efforts, most of the early harvest projects identified by the first leaders’ meeting have been completed or have made substantial progress,” the diplomat told those present at the celebration.
The event was attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongphane Savanpheth, foreign diplomats and other officials.
Ambassador Wang said nearly two-thirds of the RMB preferential loans had been implemented. The special loans for production capacity cooperation had been over-subscribed, and the preferential export buyers’ credit was being implemented effectively.
The financial support that China has pledged is supporting more than 20 major infrastructure and industrial projects in the Mekong countries.
Construction of the China-Laos railway and the China-Thailand railway is underway and equipment installation has begun at the Vinh Tan thermal power plant in Vietnam with an investment of US$1.7 billion.
The first phase of the Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Plant in Laos is operational, and river closure has been completed for the second phase. When fully operational, the plant will supply 12 percent of the country’s total electricity consumption.
Construction of a new airport in Siem Reap is expected to start soon with an estimated passenger capacity of 5 million people a year, Mr Wang said. A special focus on education, health, culture, poverty alleviation and other areas bearing on people’s lives has also yielded fruit.
Through the China-initiated“Brightness Action”scheme, nearly 800 people with cataracts in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar have had their eyesight restored.
Over the last two years, more than 12,000 students from the Mekong countries have received Chinese government scholarships and over 3,000 staff members have attended seminars or training sessions in China.
The Lancang-Mekong Vocational Education Base was opened in Yunnan and has so far trained over 10,000 professionals for the Mekong countries.
In his congratulatory message delivered last week on the LMC’s second anniversary, Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith said the grouping was a flourishing cooperation mechanism within the Asian sub-region. In the next two years, Laos and China will co-chair the LMC.
“The Lao PDR, as the co-chair with the People’s Republic of China on Lancang-Mekong Cooperation for the period of 2018-2020 will continue to work together with other member countries to actively contribute to the implementation of LMC projects and programmes,” the minister said in his message.
The First LMC Week also featured photo exhibition depicting the LMC growing cooperation and an exhibition showcasing handicraft products from the six countries. 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
March 27,

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