Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen invited the Vietnamese PM to attend the Summit which took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on January 10.
The MLC Summit is held biennially and alternates between the member countries. This year’s event is co-hosted by Cambodia and China under the theme “Peaceful River and Our Sustainable Development” and will focus on reviewing the cooperation among the countries following the first MLC held in March 2016 and discuss future cooperation orientations in addition to adopting several important documents.
The MLC cooperation mechanism includes six countries along the Mekong River including China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Based on the principles of mutual consensus, equality, cooperation, mutual interests, and respect for United Nations Chapter and international law, MLC aims to boost the comprehensive cooperation in order to build a responsible community and common interests in the Mekong sub-region.
In addition, MLC also aims to consolidate mutual trust and understanding; maintain peace and stability; promote sustainable development and poverty reduction; narrow the development gap; foster comprehensive economic integration into the region and the world; and strengthen the friendship and neighbourliness among countries.
The MLC mechanism includes three cooperation pillars, namely Politics and security; Economy and sustainable development; and Culture, society and people-to-people exchanges, with priority given to Mekong-Lancang water resources management; boosting connectivity among the six member countries; enhancing production capacity; cross-border economic cooperation; and agriculture and poverty reduction cooperation.
The first MLC Summit officially launched the cooperation process and approved the major orientations for the cooperation mechanism. The summit adopted the Sanya Declaration, a Joint Statement on production capacity cooperation among Mekong-Lancang countries, and a list of Early Harvest Projects for MLC.
Member countries have so far carried out a number of specific activities including the establishment of specialised working groups on water resources, poverty reduction, connectivity, and production capacity cooperation; the implementation of a number of projects under the list of early harvest projects such as the human resources exchange programme, the humanitarian eye operation programme, the women cooperation forum, the cooperation forum of Mekong-Lancang tourism cities; the implementation of the MLC Special Fund; and the establishment of the MLC Secretariat /national coordination agency in each member country; among others.
Vietnam has actively participated in the MLC mechanism since its establishment and has made significant contributions to the MLC content and areas of cooperation. Vietnamese delegations to the MLC have fully participated in the working group meetings, monitoring the implementation of cooperation projects within the framework of the sub-regional cooperation. Vietnam has also actively proposed cooperation areas including four proposals at the first MLC Summit and seven projects in 2017. Currently, the relevant Vietnamese ministries and agencies are stepping up proposals in other areas.
The attendance at the second MLC Summit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation expressed Vietnam’s appreciation for the MLC mechanism, contributing an important voice to the MLC future orientations while affirming Vietnam’s role in Mekong sub-regional cooperation.
Vietnam’s participation also aims to promote cooperation content which is in line with Vietnam’s interests and is significant to the sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region, in addition to consolidating the traditional friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia and the comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and China.
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