5 years on: LMC mechanism yields results in multiple areas

Yunnan Gateway, March 26, 2021

March 23 this year marks the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) mechanism.

On that day in 2016, the first leaders' meeting of the LMC gathered leaders from China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in Sanya, Hainan to launch the LMC mechanism.

Over the past five years, the six LMC countries have united as one to deepen practical cooperation. Now their cooperation has entered a new era, setting an example for building a human community with a shared future.

Yesterday, the event celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and a seminar on LMC was held in Kunming, Yunnan province.

Bringing into full play its geographical and cultural closeness to the Mekong countries, Yunnan has integrated the LMC mechanism into local socio-economic development and opening up over the past five years, bearing fruits in cooperation. A shared river gives rise to a shared future.

5 years of mutual confidence

Leaders from China have held tens of talks with their counterparts from the Mekong countries, setting the tone for friendly cooperation among the six LMC countries.

As of October 2020, three LMC leaders' meetings have been held, together with five foreign ministers' meetings, seven senior officials' meetings and ten working groups' meetings.

The LMC secretariat or coordinating organization was set up in the six countries to jointly create a stable and harmonious environment, so that the countries can achieve sustained growth and common prosperity.

Joining hands with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Yunnan hosted the first and third LMC foreign ministers' meetings in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

In June 2017, Yunnan set up a liaison office for the LMC Chinese Secretariat, the only office of its kind at the provincial level.

Along with the establishment of the Yunnan-Cambodia cooperation working group in March 2019, bilateral cooperative mechanisms between Yunnan and Mekong countries was completed.

5 years of common development

In 2020, the trade volume between China and the five Mekong countries reached US$ 322.1 billion, an increase of 66.3% over 2015.

In the same year, the trade volume between Yunnan and Mekong countries reached US$ 16.04 billion, a year-on-year increase of 3.7%.

China aided over 40 infrastructure projects in Mekong countries, including the Siem Reap international airport in Cambodia, the Vientiane power grid in Laos and the Vinh Tan coal-fired power plant in Vietnam.

Now China is the top trading partner of Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as the 2nd trading partner of Laos. Vietnam has risen to be China's fourth largest trading partner.

5 years of increasing friendship

In the past five years, over 20,000 Mekong students received Chinese scholarships, while the Lancang-Mekong vocational training base served over 40,000 Mekong workers in China. The LMC special fund financed 500 plus people-benefiting projects.

The"Mekong Bright Journey" offered free-of-charge surgeries to around 800 cataract patients in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The forums of Lancang-Mekong International Film Week, Youth Innovation Training Camp, Lancang-Mekong Tourist Cities' Alliance and Lancang-Mekong Women's Forum were held frequently.

5 years of mutual assistance

As the upstream countriy, China provided emergent water supply to the Mekong countries, sharing the river's hydrological data and helping the downstream countries in flood control and drought relief.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the six countries aided each other to tide over the trial times. Shortly after the Chinese vaccine is put to use, China offered it first to the Mekong countries as promised.

The six countries also joined hands in crackdowns on terrorism, cyber gambling, phone fraud, human trafficking and illegal immigration, safeguarding people's lives and improving governance in the region.

Five years on, the six countries treated each other like family members.

The Lancang-Mekong River witnessed the ups and downs of countries in the basin, and now it brings hope to the people's shared dream of prosperity in the region.

The LMC holds a promising future.