Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called on Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries to broaden the areas of cooperation and jointly promote sustainable and inclusive development within the subregion.
Li made the remarks via video link at the seventh summit of the GMS Economic Cooperation, which was hosted by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.
Also attending the video summit were Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, Myanmar's State Administration Council Chair Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and the Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa.
Noting that the current COVID-19 pandemic is still fluctuating globally, and instability and uncertainty in the global economy are increasing, Li said the economic recovery and sustainable growth of countries in the subregion are facing new challenges.
"We should build consensus, enhance political mutual trust, broaden cooperation areas, improve cooperation levels, and jointly promote the sustainable and inclusive development of the subregion," Li said.
Li called on the GMS countries to deepen cooperation on water resources for the benefit of coastal nations. They should also work together to prevent and control the pandemic, strengthen trade and investment, and jointly promote economic recovery, said Li.
Since last year, China has been providing the five Mekong countries with annual hydrological data on the Lancang River, and has taken the initiative in launching the Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation information-sharing platform website.
"We are willing to jointly hold the second Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation ministerial meeting and cooperation forum, and strengthen the capacity of integrated river basin management and water resource management through solidarity and cooperation," he said.
In terms of COVID-19 prevention and control, Li vowed to continue providing vaccines and other medical aid within China's capacity by making the Mekong River countries a priority, and to carry out cooperation on epidemic surveillance and infectious disease prevention, making use of the special funds for public health that have been established.
Li called for strengthening trade and investment by speeding up the ratification and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and implementing the protocol on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, so as to inject vitality into countries' development.
"We should leverage the exemplary role of the upcoming operation of the China-Laos railway, speed up the construction of the China-Thailand railway, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway and other major projects, and advance the building of a regional power-coordination center," he said.
In terms of sustainable development, Li called for strengthening cooperation on tackling climate change and environmental protection, as well as discussing new models of tourism cooperation in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
"We should draw on each other's respective strengths and make concerted efforts to promote the coordinated development of the GMS Economic Cooperation and the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanisms through upholding openness and inclusiveness," he said.
"We welcome enterprises from all countries to invest in China," Li said, adding that domestic and foreign enterprises will be treated equally, and China's development will bring new development opportunities to the Mekong River countries.
China is willing to work with the Mekong River countries to promote regional economic integration, safeguard regional peace and stability, and make new contributions to subregional integrated development and common prosperity, he stressed.