Wang Yi Talks About New Progress of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation amid Pandemic, June 11, 2021

On June 8, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the Sixth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Chongqing. Wang Yi said that since last year, under the background of the raging pandemic, six countries along the Lancang-Mekong river have earnestly implemented the consensus reached at the third leaders' meeting and the fifth foreign ministers' meeting, implemented the Five-Year Plan of Action of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (2018-2022), vigorously carried out anti-pandemic cooperation, jointly promoted economic recovery, and continuously deepened cultural exchanges. The LMC has maintained a high momentum of development.

Wang Yi said, we have set a new benchmark for anti-pandemic cooperation. The six countries have helped each other and worked together to curb the spread of the pandemic. China has set up a special fund for public health under the framework of the LMC Special Fund, strengthened information sharing with other countries, sent medical experts and provided anti-pandemic materials and vaccines to the best of its ability. The six countries have also implemented programs, such as the tropical diseases prevention and control initiative, healthy heart initiative and LMC herbal medicines campaign, and conducted training on malaria, cardiovascular diseases and traditional Chinese acupuncture through video conferencing and distance teaching, in a joint effort to strengthen capacity building in public health.

We have opened up new prospects for economic growth. China and other countries along Lancang-Mekong River have accelerated the construction of a network for fast tracks and green lanes. The number of cargo flights have increased from 49 per week in 2019 to 289 per week, which has effectively enhanced the air cargo capacity of the six countries and stabilized the regional industrial chain and supply chain. China has held economic and trade and investment promotion activities for the five countries, shared its experience in the development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, launched cloud computing innovation centers in Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, and carried out innovative projects such as satellite remote sensing and big data platforms to promote industrial upgrading and modernized urban development in the region. We have stepped up efforts to implement the cluster of LMC Harvest Projects. More than 300 Chinese agribusinesses have invested and started businesses in countries along Lancang-Mekong River to expand import of high-quality agricultural products such as rice, beef cattle and mangoes. Last year, the trade between China and the other five countries along Lancang-Mekong River bucked the trend and rose to 322.9 billion U.S. dollars, with trade in agricultural products reaching 24 billion U.S. dollars, both growing by about 12 percent year-on-year.

We have taken our cooperation on water resources to a new level. In the spirit of science, the six countries have worked hard to improve river basin management capacity and promote rational and sustainable use of water resources. As a country on the upper reaches of the Lancang-Mekong River, China has made full use of the Lancang River water conservancy projects to reduce the water flow during the wet season and increase it during the dry season, and done its best to ensure proper downstream discharge. At the beginning of last year, China again provided emergency water replenishing to meet the needs of countries along Lancang-Mekong River. China has started reporting annual hydrological information of the Lancang-Mekong River and launched the website of the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform to help downstream countries cope with flood and drought disasters. China has stepped up efforts to implement cooperation projects on dam safety, rural water supply, and green hydropower, and has provided exchanges and training programs on water conservancy for more than 1,000 people from countries along Lancang-Mekong River. Last year, China completed 22 demonstration projects for rural water supply in Laos.

We have made new progress in improving people's lives. Over the past five years, the six countries have made full use of the LMC Special Fund and carried out nearly 540 projects benefiting the people in areas such as poverty alleviation, women, education and youth. The Chinese government has supported more than 30,000 students from the five countries along the Lancang-Mekong River to study in China with scholarships. The Lancang-Mekong Vocational Education and Training Base has trained more than 40,000 migrant workers to China in Yunnan. The Myanmar's coffee production increase program has trained more than 11,000 coffee farmers. China has overcome the difficulties posed by the pandemic to build rural school buildings and provide photovoltaic power generation equipment to other countries along the Lancang-Mekong River. The six countries host the 2020 LMC Media Online Summit and LMC TV Week, and organized media from countries along Lancang-Mekong River to visit Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan and other provinces along the Lancang River, which have raised awareness of LMC.

We have put in place a new framework for multi-dimensional cooperation. The LMC has created a cooperation framework featuring leader-led, all-encompassing and multi-sectoral participation, which has fully mobilized the active participation of various departments, localities and industries in the six countries. Nearly 50 central government units, around 20 provinces and cities, as well as many think tanks of colleges and universities and media enterprises in China have been involved in the cooperation. Since last year, the joint working group on water resources, agriculture and poverty reduction has been running efficiently. The joint working group on production capacity cooperation has held multi-country and multi-park cooperation and exchanges. The Lancang-Mekong Environmental Cooperation Center held nearly 10 video conferences to advance cooperation on environmental governance and climate change. The Lancang-Mekong Youth Exchange and Cooperation Center has formulated and implemented a three-year action plan to promote education and youth exchanges among the six countries.