High-ranking diplomats from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and China will convene on Friday at the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), a relatively new mechanism to enhance regional cooperation.
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The latest edition of the LMC will take place this week in Yunnan, in southern China, bringing together foreign affairs ministers from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, the countries that the Mekong passes through.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi will co-chair the forum.
Su Hao, the director of China Foreign Affairs University’s Strategies and Peace Studies Centre, an institution based in Beijing, said the LMC is crucial in enhancing regional cooperation.
“We are all neighbours, we know what we need. We know what we have to do. Working amongst ourselves is the best way to boost cooperation,” he said, adding that LMC is in line with the objectives of China’s One Belt One Road initiative.
He said that a stronger LMC will lead to greater investment and trade among its members, as well as higher tourism numbers and industrial development.
The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism was launched in 2015. The first leaders’ meeting took place in March 2016 in the Chinese province of Hainan. Lancang is the Chinese word for the Mekong.
The LMC is based on three pillars – political and security issues, economic and sustainable development and socio-cultural issues. There are also five key priority areas – connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources and agriculture and poverty reduction.
The forum will take place ahead of the second Lancang-Mekong Summit to be held in Phnom Penh in January next year.