Full text: Joint Statement on Deepening Cooperation on Traditional Medicine Within the Framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

Xinhua, June 9, 2021

At the Sixth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Chongqing, the People's Republic of China, on 8 June 2021, the Ministers recalled the Leaders' consensus on strengthening public health cooperation in the Third LMC Leaders' meeting on 24 August 2020, supported the deepening of cooperation on traditional medicine (TM), and welcomed the following statement issued by the health authorities of China and of Mekong countries:

The six Lancang-Mekong member countries, connected by mountains and rivers, enjoy close affinity, similar cultures and a long history of exchanges and mutual learning in TM. TM institutions of the Lancang-Mekong countries have maintained close cooperation. In particular, during the rampage of COVID-19, the six member countries have stood by each other in fighting the deadly virus, setting a fine example of international cooperation against the pandemic.

We recognize the serious challenge that COVID-19, influenza, malaria, dengue fever and other ongoing diseases pose to people's lives. By supporting the participation of TM of the six member countries in global response to such diseases, we are making efforts to fulfill our responsibilities to protecting the life and health of our own people, as well as contributing to public health in the Lancang-Mekong region. 

To advance cooperation among the six member countries in TM and better leverage its positive role in the prevention and treatment of major infectious diseases, and under the principles of mutual exchanges, mutual learning and win-win cooperation, the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People's Republic of China, the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Ministry of Public Health of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Ministry of Health and Sports of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Ministry of Public Health of the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Ministry of Health of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, will take the following measures:

1. Work actively on coordinated response to epidemics. Joint efforts will be made to support the participation of TM in preventing and treating major infectious diseases, coordinate and share information in response to COVID-19 and other major infectious diseases, and enhance capabilities to respond to emergencies with TM to safeguard public health in the Lancang-Mekong region;

2. Review past experience for the promotion and application of TM. Joint research on effective TM therapeutics and medicine in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, malaria and other infectious diseases will be carried out to provide reference for further application of the region's TM in global efforts against the epidemics;

3. Promote mutual learning to safeguard people's health. Efforts will be made to enhance mutual learning among TM practitioners and social groups in the Lancang-Mekong region, harness TM including those inspired by local wisdom in line with relevant laws and regulations of member countries on the basis of guaranteed safety and effectiveness, and promote the integration of TM with conventional health services to enhance local people's health; and

4. Strengthen exchanges and training of TM professionals. Efforts will be made to enhance exchanges and cooperation in TM therapeutics, education, scientific research and industrial development. A mechanism for TM professionals training and exchanges among the six member countries should be established to explore different ways to nurture TM practitioners with a global vision.  

Under the current circumstances, to support the application of TM in the epidemic response of the Lancang-Mekong region, and to safeguard people's health, calls for a more open and inclusive mindset than ever before. Solidarity and cooperation among the six member countries will prevail over difficulties and produce even more fruitful outcomes of TM cooperation in the Lancang-Mekong region.