The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), a relatively new mechanism to enhance regional cooperation among Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries and China, is still in its infant stages, but has already achieved a great deal when it comes to the development of agriculture technology in the region, according to a high-ranking Chinese official.
“The LMC in agriculture is still in the beginning stage, which requires all parties to make efforts and to work to continue to push it forward,” said Zhang Lubaio, deputy director general of China’s Ministry of International Cooperation, during an interview with Khmer Times.
“However, over the last year, with the great support of the ministers of agriculture of the five Mekong River countries, the LMC has achieved remarkable progress in the agricultural sector,” he added.
Mr Zhang’s comments come as foreign affairs ministers from the six member nations prepare to attend a new LMC meeting on Friday in Yunnan, southern China.
The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism was launched in 2015 to provide a new platform for high-ranking officials from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – the countries the Mekong passes through – to meet and discuss ways to boost development in the region without interference from third countries.
The forum this week will take place ahead of the second Lancang-Mekong Summit to be held in Phnom Penh in January next year.
Mr Zhang said that as part of the LMC mechanism, the member countries are now focusing on boosting the development of agricultural technology in the region.
Specifically, he mentioned plans to build agricultural technology promotion centres across the region.
On a negative note, Mr Zhang added that some of the progress made has come at a cost, with the region now experiencing a serious imbalance when it comes to development in the agricultural sector, an issue the LMC needs to tackle in future meetings.
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 first leaders’ meeting took place in March 2016 in the Chinese province of Hainan.