BEIJING, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- China has proposed solid measures for regional cooperation at the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting to jointly cope with global challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the event, held by video link on Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed to expand cooperation in areas such as water resources, connectivity and public health among the six Lancang-Mekong countries, namely China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Zhang Lili, a professor with China Foreign Affairs University, said these measures demonstrate China's role as a responsible country and its efforts to promote building a community with a shared future for mankind.
WATER RESOURCES COOPERATION
The LMC mechanism was launched by the six countries in 2016.
Its name comes from a river: It is called Lancang in China and Mekong after flowing out of the country into Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Chinese premier said starting from this year, China will share the Lancang River's hydrological data for the whole year with Mekong countries.
Zhai Kun, a professor of international studies at Peking University, said this represented a step forward in water resources cooperation as China used to share only the hydrological data during the flood season.
The Chinese premier also noted that China will work with other LMC countries to establish a Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform to better tackle climate change and natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
As the upstream country, China has actively responded to the expectations of downstream countries to strengthen cooperation with a sense of responsibility, increase trust and dispel doubts as well as help the LMC countries to better manage water resources, Zhai added.
China also proposed synergizing the LMC with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which passes through western China and connects Southeast Asia with the Eurasian continent.
Zhai said the trade corridor would activate the synergetic development of the western and southwestern China market and the ASEAN market, and thus help optimize the allocation of resources, keep industrial and supply chains stable and promote the Belt and Road construction.
According to China's Ministry of Transport, transportation connectivity through railway, road and waterway has been greatly improved under the LMC mechanism.
The Chinese section of the China-Vietnam railway has completed electrification, and the construction of the rail tracks from China to Laos, Thailand and Myanmar is proceeding smoothly; 29 cross-border road transportation routes from Yunnan to Laos and Vietnam have been opened; China's part of the Lancang-Mekong shipping lane has been upgraded to allow 300-tonne ships to navigate.
Hailing the LMC mechanism as a paradigm of the sub-regional cooperation between China and ASEAN countries, Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the countries take full use of the geographic advantages to push ahead connectivity.
Merging the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor with the LMC will enhance the China-ASEAN strategic partnership, push forward the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, and raise regional economic integration to a higher level, Ruan added.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, LMC countries are also concerned about how to cooperate more on public health.
China promised to set up a special fund for public health under the framework of the LMC Special Fund and continue to provide material and technical support to the Mekong countries to the best of its ability.
Also, once developed and used in China, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to Mekong countries on a priority basis, said Premier Li.
Ruan said the countries working together to combat the pandemic has created favorable conditions for future cooperation in various fields, promoted people-to-people exchanges and injected strong confidence and impetus into broader regional collaboration.