Top Stories : The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Attended the 2nd Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia news3

Top Stories : The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Attended the 2nd Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On 10 January 2018, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand attended the 2nd Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Leaders Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The meeting was also attended by leaders from the Member States including the Prime Minister of Cambodia, the Prime Minister of Lao PDR, the 1st Vice President of Myanmar, the Prime Minister of Viet Nam, and the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. It was co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Cambodia and the Chinese Premier.
 
The Prime Minister of Thailand delivered a statement expressing his appreciation of the achievement made by the MLC, namely the establishment of the six working groups under the five priority areas, the implementation of the early harvest projects, the approval of 132 projects under the MLC special fund; the establishment of centers on water resources and environment cooperation, and the establishment of academic networks. He also stressed the importance of the regional connectivity as a main instrument to creating well-balanced economic growth that ensures maximum accessibility for the public. 
 
The Prime Minister made proposals for the future direction of the MLC by stressing that the MLC can play an important role in modernizing the sub-region through innovation while becoming a center of excellence and sustainable development. At the same time, the MLC can support the sub-region in strengthening it from within, with the objective of advancing its economy and enabling it to tap into the global value chain through modern tools such as e-commerce, promotion of SMEs, special economic zones, and implementation of the latest industrial development to complement Thailand 4.0 and Thailand-Plus-One policies. 
 
In addition, Thailand attaches importance to water resource cooperation and connectivity, and will host the 2nd working group meeting on water resource management in early 2018. As the current chair of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), Thailand is proposing to draft an ACMECS Master Plan which will be the first master plan of the sub-region. The Master Plan and Bangkok Declaration will bring about concrete and tangible outcomes in the next six months, and will support the MLC by connecting the Mekong sub-region with the Belt and Road Initiative (B and R).  
 
The Prime Minister also envisioned directions for future MLC cooperation in which Thailand has played constructive roles since its inception as a founder in 2015. Thailand also actively participated in all six working groups, stressing the importance of water resource cooperation, connectivity and cross-border trade facilitation. One of the goals that Thailand hopes the MLC will fulfil is to evolve into a cooperation framework that link the Mekong sub-region with the Belt and Road Initiative by jointly exploring the possibility of establishing an economic corridor under the MLC framework.  
 
The meeting endorsed two outcome documents including the (1) 5-Year Plan of Action 2018 – 2022, which lays out plans for MLC activities in the next five years, and (2) the Phnom Penh Declaration, which reflects the leaders’ determination to utilize the MLC to achieve its goals and map out tangible work.
 
During the course of the meeting, the Prime Minister of Thailand also met with the Prime Minister of Cambodia, the Prime Minister of Viet Nam, and the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. 
 
The MLC consists of six Member States including China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. It aims to promote sustainable development and elevate people’s quality of life in the Mekong sub-region on the basis of equality, participation, voluntarism, and consensus.