The forthcoming visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to Cambodia will further enhance China-Cambodia ties and deepen cooperation among the six Lancang-Mekong River Cooperation (LMC) countries, said a Cambodian scholar.
Li will attend the second LMC leaders’ meeting in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and pay an official visit to Cambodia from today till tomorrow. His visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia.
“Premier Li’s visit signifies another milestone in nurturing and deepening special strategic partnership between China and Cambodia,” Chheang Vannarith, vice-chairman of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, told Xinhua. “More concrete steps will be taken to further realize the common vision of the two countries.”
Li and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen will co-chair the second LMC leaders’ meeting in Phnom Penh, which will also bring together Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe.
Initiated by China in 2014, LMC consists of six countries, namely China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
It focuses on three pillars, namely political-security cooperation, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation, and five priority areas of cooperation, namely connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, and agriculture and poverty reduction.
Chheang Vannarith said Li’s presence at the upcoming meeting reflects China’s strong political will to build a river of peace and common development.
“The 2nd LMC leaders’ meeting will be another milestone in deepening political trust, fostering practical cooperation, and promoting comprehensive regional connectivity,” he said.
He added that the meeting also illustrates the strong political will of the leaders of the six countries in building a community of shared future and promoting common development in the sub-region.
Speaking about China’s role in the LMC, Chheang Vannarith said the world’s second largest economy has driven regional cooperation through promoting shared vision and political will, institution building, and funding.
Asked whether the LMC could be better aligned with the development strategies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the scholar said the LMC has complemented ASEAN well by helping the least developed members of ASEAN to catch up with other members.
“Moreover, LMC helps realize ASEAN regional connectivity and production capacity,” he said.
According to a Cambodian foreign ministry statement, at the upcoming meeting, the LMC leaders are expected to adopt four documents, namely the Phnom Penh Declaration, a five-year action plan of the LMC (2018-2022), a joint list of 2nd batch of cooperation projects, and reports of the Six Joint Working Groups of Priority Areas.
The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in southwest China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the sea.