New report reviews China's 5-year cooperation with Mekong countries

Xinhua, March 23, 2021

The Blue Book of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) 2020 was released Tuesday in southwest China, marking the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the LMC mechanism.

The mechanism was launched by six countries -- China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam -- in 2016. It derives its name from a river that is called Lancang in China and Mekong in the five other countries.

The report, compiled by Yunnan University, reviews the progress, problems and development trends of the LMC since 2019. It analyzes collaborations in specific areas including public health and the fight against drugs.

It said since 2019, cooperation between the six countries has blossomed in areas including connectivity, industrial capacity, cross-border economy, water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction.

Cooperation has now extended to new fields such as the digital economy, environmental protection, health and customs, while small and medium-sized projects in Mekong countries have increased in number and focused more on technology, hygiene and other livelihood-related areas, said the report.

The report's launch was part of a symposium on the LMC, which kicked off in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, with attending officials and scholars from China and the Mekong countries speaking glowingly of the regional cooperation mechanism.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic is still hitting the world, the LMC countries are expected to strengthen public health cooperation and focus on work resumption, water management and the improvement of people's livelihoods," Liu Zhi, director of the Center for LMC Studies under Yunnan University, said in her opening remarks at the symposium.

Liu said while the pandemic plunged the region into an economic downturn, it has also injected new momentum into regional integration by bringing geo-economic partners closer together.