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Chinese and Thai Sides Signed MOU on LMC Special Fund Projects Proposed by Thailand

  On April 18, Chinese Ambassador Lyu Jian and Permanent Secretary Nuntawan Sakuntanaga of the Thai Ministry of Commerce signed an MOU on the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Special Fund projects proposed by the Thai side. Thai Minister of Commerce Sontirat Sontijirawong, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Board of Investment of Thailand, as well as diplomatic envoys from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to Thailand attended the signing ceremony.

  Ambassador Lyu said in the speech that the LMC is the first sub-regional cooperation mechanism set up by countries along the river. The six countries have been working hard with one mind over the past two years to translate the idea of the LMC into concrete results. Tangible benefits are being delivered to the LMC member states and the whole region. The Lancang-Mekong cooperation reflects the common aspiration of China and neighboring countries to promote connectivity and speed up integrated development. The Chinese side stays committed to building an open world economy. As was stated by President Xi Jinping at the just concluded Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018, China’s door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider. China’s neighboring countries, the Mekong countries included, will gain earlier and greater benefits as China pursues further opening-up. The Chinese side is willing to keep close communication and cooperation with Lancang-Mekong countries, including Thailand to make the LMC special fund projects blossom and bear fruits at an early date, so as to add luster to the Lancang-Mekong cooperation and promote the well-being of people in the region.

  Minister Sontirat thanked the Chinese government for funding the Lancang-Mekong cooperation. Attaching great importance to the cooperation, the Thai side regards the LMC as the most important vehicle to promote sustainable development in the Mekong sub-region and to reduce development disparity among the LMC member states. He also said that with the support of the special fund, intra-regional economic linkages among the LMC members will be enhanced, and the Mekong will be transformed into a river of peace, prosperity and progress.

  In accordance with the MOU, the Chinese side will fund four Thai projects including joint development of cross-border special economic zones, upgrading border facilitation for trade and logistics development, Lancang-Mekong business forum and rural e-commerce development.

  The LMC is a new type of sub-regional cooperation platform jointly initiated and established by China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The First LMC Leaders’ Meeting was held in Hainan in March, 2016. The meeting issued the Sanya Declaration and marked the official establishment of the LMC mechanism. It was also at the meeting that the Chinese side announced to set up a special fund and provide US$300 million in the following five years to support small- and medium-sized cooperation projects initiated by the six countries. The Second LMC Leaders’ Meeting was held in Phnom Penh in January this year, which adopted the Phnom Penh Declaration and the Five-Year Plan of Action on Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (2018-2022).

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