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Li Keqiang Attends the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion Summit

2021/09/09

On the morning of September 9, 2021, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit and delivered a speech at the Great Hall of the People. The Summit was held via video link, chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, and attended by Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, Chairman of Myanmar's State Administration Council Min Aung Hlaing, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and President of Asian Development Bank Masatsugu Asakawa.

Li Keqiang said in his speech that China and the Mekong countries are close neighbors, akin to a family. President Xi Jinping proposed to build a community with a shared future in its neighborhood. Since its establishment, the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation mechanism has benefited the economic and social development of the countries involved and improved their people's livelihood, contributing to the region's stability and prosperity.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the current COVID-19 pandemic is still fluctuating globally, instability and uncertainty in the global economy are increasing, and 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 Keqiang put forward six suggestions:

First, deepening cooperation on water resources for the benefit of coastal nations, respecting the legitimate rights and interests of the countries in the rational development and utilization of water resources and solving any problem through consultations. 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's website. China is willing to jointly hold the second Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation ministerial meeting and cooperation forum, and strengthen solidarity and cooperation between upstream and downstream countries to strengthen the capacity of integrated river basin management and water resource management.

Second, making people's lives the top priority and calling for joint efforts in pandemic control and vaccine cooperation with a scientific spirit and by adhering to scientific rules. China will 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 pandemic surveillance and infectious disease prevention, making use of the special funds for public health that have been established.

Third, strengthening trade and investment for joint economic recovery. We need to speed up the ratification and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and implement the protocol on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, so as to inject strong vitality into the development of all countries, including GMS nations.

Fourth, promoting connectivity to achieve coordinated development. We need to implement the Transport Strategy 2030, leverage the exemplary role of the upcoming operation of the China-Laos railway, and speed up the construction of the China-Thailand railway, the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway and other major projects, to advance the building of a regional power-coordination center.

Fifth, promoting sustainable development and improving people's livelihoods. We need to strengthen cooperation on tackling climate change and environmental protection, implement the phase III of the GMS core environment projects as well as discussing new models of tourism cooperation in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

Sixth, consolidating political trust and safeguarding common interests of GMS countries. We need to adhere to good neighborliness and friendship, mutual respect and equality, and care for each other's major concerns. We need to uphold multilateralism and promote the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We should advocate the philosophy of openness and inclusiveness, 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.

Li Keqiang introduced China's economic situation and pointed out that development is the basis and key to solving all China's problems. At the current development stage, China will apply new development philosophy, accelerate the building of a new development paradigm, and promote high-quality development to do its own thing well. China will make its macro-control more forward-looking, accurate and effective to do a good job in cross cycle regulation and keep the economy running within a reasonable range. China will deepen its reform to create a market-oriented and rule-based international business environment, and greatly stimulate the vitality of market entities and social creativity. China will promote high-standard opening-up, welcome enterprises from all countries to invest in China, treat domestic and foreign enterprises equally to promote fair competition, and actively promote open and inclusive cooperation. China's development will bring new development opportunities and dividends to all countries, including the GMS nations.

Li Keqiang finally stressed that 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.

Leaders of the participating countries and heads of relevant institutions appreciated Premier Li Keqiang's suggestions, thanked China for its help in fighting against the pandemic, and expressed that in the face of the impact of the pandemic and the new challenges brought about by changes in the international and regional situation, GMS nations should uphold multilateralism, turn challenges into opportunities, and promote strong economic and social recovery of countries in the region to achieve sustainable and inclusive development, maintain peace and stability, promote common prosperity and benefit the people of all countries in the region.

The Joint Declaration of the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion Summit was released and two endorsed documents were the GMS Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) and the GMS COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan 2021 and 2023.

Wang Yi, He Lifeng and others attended the above activities.

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