Press Release : The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Attended Mekong Sub-Regional Ministerial Meetings 2 – 3 August 2018, Singapore news3

Press Release : The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand Attended Mekong Sub-Regional Ministerial Meetings 2 – 3 August 2018, Singapore

On 2 – 3 August 2018, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, co-chaired the 9th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting, and attended the 11th Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial Meeting, the 8th Mekong – Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the 11th Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore.
 
The 9th MGC Ministerial Meeting appreciated India for her active role as development partner in promoting sustainable development and human resource development in the Mekong sub region, and was pleased with progress in the implementation of the MGC Action Plan 2016 – 2018. The Meeting also discussed the future direction of MGC cooperation to promote tourism, culture, education, transport, health, agriculture, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), water resource management, as well as the jointly adopted Joint Ministerial Statement for the 9th MGC Ministerial Meeting.
 
The 11th LMI Ministerial Meeting discussed and endorsed the Joint Statement to Strengthen Data Management and Information Sharing in the Lower Mekong, which aims at enhancing regional cooperation on water data management among Lower Mekong partner countries and Mekong River Commissions. The Meeting also adopted the Joint Statement of the Eleventh Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial Meeting, reaffirming their commitment to improve water resource management, and to streamline the LMI to be more dynamic in responding to the sub-region’s needs.
 
The 8th Mekong – ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting adopted the Co-Chairs’ Statement, agreeing to elevate the working structure of the Mekong – ROK cooperation to the summit level, the first one of which is expected to be held in 2019. The Mekong Ministers also welcomed ROK’s announcement to double the Mekong – ROK Cooperation Fund as part of the ROK’s New Southern Policy to expand cooperation with the Mekong countries. In addition, the Ministers welcomed the positive advances for the complete denuclearization which will lead to lasting peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. 
 
The 11th Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting reviewed the progress in the implementation of the New Tokyo Strategy 2015 which will expire by the end of this year, and exchanged views on future direction of Mekong-Japan cooperation as well as on regional issues. The meeting agreed that future cooperation will focus on three main areas namely, (1) connectivity, especially in the development of quality infrastructure, (2) people-to-people connectivity and human resources development, and (3) sustainable development. The new strategy, which will be adopted at the 10th Mekong – Japan Summit Meeting on 8 – 9 October 2018 in Tokyo, will take into account Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” as well as other regional initiatives and frameworks including the ACMECS Master Plan (2019 – 2023). The Meeting also jointly adopted the Chair’s Statement of the 11th Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
 
During the four Mekong Ministerial Meetings, Thailand reiterated its commitment as development partners in the Mekong sub-region, to enhancing hardware and software connectivity, people-to-people relations, as well as sustainable water resources management. Thailand also proposed that the ACMECS Master Plan (2019 – 2023), which was adopted at the 8th ACMECS Summit in Bangkok, be taken into consideration as a policy orientation for future cooperation of the 4 Mekong sub-regional frameworks. Thailand also invited Japan, India, ROK and the US to become development partners in ACMECS.