Mekong: China backs Thailand's efforts to explore new trade routes in region

A cafe restaurant is crowded with customers during happy hour drinks in Bangkok. - AFP

BANGKOK, Aug 27 (Xinhua): China supports Thailand's efforts to upgrade border infrastructure and explore new trade routes among the Lancang-Mekong region, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand Yang Xin has said.

Yang made the remarks during an interview with Xinhua after the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders' meeting held on Monday. The meeting mapped out a blueprint for regional cooperation and aimed to promote regional prosperity and development.

He said the joint working group of Lancang-Mekong cross-border economic cooperation is intensifying planning on e-commerce cooperation, adding that China supports Thailand in setting up LMC fund projects to facilitate trade and logistic in the region.

So far more than 300 special fund projects and nearly 30 infrastructure and industrial projects under the LMC mechanism have been implemented, according to Yang.

Many of Thailand's LMC special fund projects aim to promote cross-border trade, business communication and rural e-commerce. Meanwhile, the country is exploring new trade routes based on the existing infrastructure. These projects will benefit medium, small and micro enterprises, business operators and farmers in the region, said the charge d'affaires.

With the development of the Lancang-Mekong cooperation, Yang believes cooperation between China and Thailand in sectors such as e-commerce will see new opportunities and benefit the people in the region.

Talking on cross-border trade among China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, Yang said Lancang-Mekong countries are enjoying a rapid economic growth and have strong demand for regional cooperation, adding that they all face common needs of seeking development and improving people's livelihood.

China and Thailand have achieved fruitful results in promoting cross-border economic cooperation, said Yang.

Yang said joint working groups on priority areas such as cross-border economic cooperation, production capacity and connectivity have mapped out medium and long term plans for the Lancang-Mekong sub-region.

China's proposal at the third LMC leaders' meeting of synergising the LMC with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor provides a broad platform for e-commerce development in the region, said Yang.

Lancang and Mekong differ in name, but refer to the same river. It is called the Lancang River in China, while in its downstream after flowing out of China's Yunnan Province, it is called the Mekong River, running across Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Yang said water resource cooperation is one of the five priorities in the LMC agenda, and the cooperation mechanism has improved over time, adding that the joint working group has drawn up a five-year working plan, while the Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation center has been officially launched.

At the latest LMC leaders' meeting, China has promised to share the annual hydrological information of the Lancang River with Mekong countries starting from this year, he added.

On poverty reduction, Yang said China is implementing a special poverty reduction plan, which will carry out 100 assistance projects to improve people's livelihood in Mekong countries within three years.

China also supports poverty reduction in Mekong countries through the LMC special funds, Yang said. Most of Thailand's projects under these funds aim to improve people's lives, such as the forestry poverty alleviation pilot scheme that has been launched in nine appointed villages in northeastern Thailand, according to Yang.

Yang said the world is facing growing uncertainties, and the LMC has become a significant stage for regional countries to discuss cooperation plans and uphold international justice, adding that all sides reiterated their support on free trade and multilateralism at the LMC leaders' meeting. - Xinhua
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