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China and the other five countries of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism will widen areas of collaboration in an upcoming blueprint to further build the economic community along the Mekong River, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.
Wang made the remark while attending the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers" Meeting held in Dali, Yunnan province. The meeting, held Thursday to Saturday, has been attended by the top diplomats of the six member countries of the LMC mechanism, including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhon, Wang said the LMC has progressed effectively since it started in March 2016, with coordination teams set up in all member countries and most financial support put in place.
Most of the 45 "early harvest" projects initiated by Premier Li Keqiang during the first LMC Leaders" Meeting in 2016 have now been completed, Wang said.
All members have set up their own LMC secretariat, and a joint meeting mechanism is expected to be formed in the near future, Wang said. He said related research centers have been set up and most financial support is in place.
Two-thirds of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) concessional loan offered by China during the leaders" meeting in 2016 has been put in place, while the $5 billion special loan on production capacity cooperation has been completed and the $5 billion preferential export buyers credit is progressing rapidly, he said.
The ministers from China and Cambodia jointly announced that the 2nd LMC Leaders" Meeting will be held in Cambodia in January.
The Friday meeting produced a draft of an LMC five-year development plan that would need to be finalized during the leaders" meeting in Cambodia. Once passed, it would be the first blueprint for LMC development and guide the way for the LMC, Wang said.
He said China and the other five countries should enhance efforts in synergized cooperation, expand areas of cooperation, and strengthen human resources training while deepening people-to-people exchanges.
The LMC, a new subregional entity jointly established by the six countries along the river in the spirit of equality, mutual assistance and win-win cooperation, was proposed by Li during the 17th China-ASEAN Leaders" Meeting in 2014.
The project-based mechanism has performed well in addressing the pressing needs of the member countries, which is the most obvious feature of the LMC when it is compared with other regional cooperation groups in the area, Wang said.
"In order to serve the most pressing demands in development from the member countries with tangible outcomes, the LMC has managed to lend support to these countries as fast as possible by simplifying procedures, and making people"s well-being a top priority in the past two years," Wang said.
Before the Friday meeting, the six foreign ministers attended a photo exhibition showing results the LMC has achieved.