Joint Press Communiqué of the Fifth Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Vientiane, Lao PDR, 20 February 2020
1. The Fifth Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) on 20 February 2020. H.E. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, H.E.Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam attended the meeting which was co-chaired by the Lao and Chinese Foreign Ministers.
2. The Ministers reviewed the implementation of the outcomes of the Second MLC Leaders’ Meeting and the Fourth MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and commended the Progress Report of the Year 2019 on Implementing the Five-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (2018-2022). The Ministers agreed that the MLC has kept the momentum of rapid development with deepening practical cooperation across the board, growing political mutual trust among the six countries, broadening common interests and further strengthened good-neighborliness.
3. The Ministers of Mekong countries expressed appreciation to China who has, in an open, transparent and responsible manner, shared timely information on the COVID-19 outbreak as well as technical guidelines for prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment ever since the outbreak. They commended the strong measures taken by China and were fully confident in China’s ability to win the battle against the epidemic. The Ministers commended the active efforts made by relevant agencies and authorities from Mekong countries in combating the outbreak. The Ministers agreed to take into consideration the relevant recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), as allowed by the conditions of respective countries and to further strengthen information and experience sharing and scientific research cooperation to control the epidemic and prevent future epidemic outbreak in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
4. The Ministers commended the substantive progress achieved in 2019 in implementing the projects supported by the MLC Special Fund, and welcomed China’s consistent support to fund the newly approved list of projects of the LMC Special Fund 2020. They commended the importance of these projects in promoting socio-economic development of the MLC countries, and hope that the Fund could further support more practical and effective projects for the well-being of the peoples of the six countries. Efforts will be made to enhance the quality of projects and efficiency of implementation and management, with a view to improving the Fund’s effectiveness in better serving the interests of the peoples.
5. The Ministers noted with satisfaction that the 3+5+X cooperation framework has been further improved with the establishment of the Mekong-Lancang Agricultural Cooperation Center and the Mekong-Lancang Youth Exchange Cooperation Center, and the smooth operation of the Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Center, the Mekong-Lancang Environmental Cooperation Center, the Mekong-Lancang Vocational Education Training Center and the Global Center for Mekong Studies (GCMS). The Ministers welcomed the Action Plans on water resources, agricultural and environmental cooperation, and called for a prompt formulation of Action Plans on production capacity, connectivity and cross-border economic cooperation.
6. The Ministers agreed to promote dialogues among political parties and exchanges on governance, and step up cooperation on non-traditional security issues including disaster management, epidemic prevention and mitigation, combating illicit drug trafficking, terrorism and cyber crimes, human trafficking, and smuggling and trafficking of firearms and ammunition. The Ministers also agreed to promote exchanges and dialogues among local/regional governments of border areas as well as border management departments of the six countries in line with the spirit of MLC and domestic rules and regulations of each member country.
7. The Ministers reaffirmed the need for enhancing connectivity among Mekong-Lancang countries, and took note of the commitment of China and ASEAN in synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025, and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Master Plan (2019-2023).
8. The Ministers welcomed the Recommendations for Jointly Building the Mekong-Lancang Economic Development Belt by the GCMS, and agreed to encourage relevant agencies of the six countries to undertake further studies to formulate detailed plans. They also encouraged synergy between development of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the Mekong-Lancang Economic Development Belt to closely link the vast mid-western region of China with the vibrant ASEAN market, and enable quality and sustainable economic development, resilience and industrial integration and ensure supply chain efficiency in the Mekong-Lancang region.
9. The Ministers supported optimizing regional production capacity distribution, complementing each other with their respective production advantages, and enhancing the countries’ relevance in the global industrial and value chain according to the Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation Among Mekong-Lancang Countries. The Ministers noted the progress in setting up the MLC Production Capacity and Investment Promotion Alliance, and the multi-nation, multi-park cooperation. They took note that their business associations have held the first MLC Textile and Apparel Summit, during which the Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation of Textile and Garment Industry among Mekong-Lancang Countries was issued.
10. The Ministers commended the enhancement and upgrading of the MLC water resources cooperation. The first Ministerial Meeting of Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation was successfully held and adopted the Joint Statement of the Ministerial Meeting of Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation and the List of Proposed Projects on Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation. The Water Resources Joint Working Group held a special session in joint response to the drought in the Mekong Basin. The Ministers of Mekong countries appreciated China for the direct provision of hydrological information of the Lancang River in the flood season within the MLC framework, and positive contribution to coping with the severe drought in Mekong-Lancang River Basin. The Ministers agreed to adopt approaches to promote green and sustainable development, further step up water resources cooperation, enhance the sharing of hydrological information, deepen cooperation on emergency management of flood, drought and other disasters, and improve water resources management capabilities with a view to ensuring sustainable use of water resources, and minimizing negative impact on the livelihood and environment along the Mekong-Lancang River. The Ministers welcomed the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS) as an observer to annual meetings of the Joint Working Group on Water Resources Cooperation of the MLC, and the signing of an MOU between the MRCS and the Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Center.
11. The Ministers expressed appreciation for China’s measures to expand import of agricultural products from Mekong countries, and encouraged that efforts should be made to strengthen agricultural cooperation, accelerate the implementation of the Three-Year Action Plan on Agricultural Cooperation (2020-2022), make full use of Mekong-Lancang Agricultural Cooperation Center and the agricultural technology promotion platform, conduct agricultural technology promotion projects, enhance competitiveness of agricultural products from the six countries, and explore the possibility of the cooperation on food safety and security, and to jointly build agricultural industry cooperation parks.
12. The Ministers commended the considerable progress made in education, health, poverty reduction, Red Cross Societies, women and youth undertakings, and agreed to support more projects and trainings in these fields. They encouraged to provide more scholarships to further improve the people’s livelihood in the Mekong-Lancang countries.
13. The Ministers appreciated the joint celebration of the third anniversary of the establishment of the MLC and the MLC Week 2019 by member countries, and encouraged to conduct more people-to-people and cultural exchanges to enhance the public awareness of the MLC.
14. The Ministers commended the fruitful outcomes of the Joint Working Groups on key priority areas, as they have played a significant role in promoting MLC.
15. The Ministers commended the contribution made by the MLC National Secretariats/Coordination Units of the six countries, welcomed the Second Training Program and the First Joint Meeting for National Secretariats/Coordination Units held by the Chinese side, and called for further enhancement of the liaison mechanism of the National Secretariats/Coordination Units to strengthen communication for better coordination in practical cooperation in all areas.
16. The Ministers agreed to promote coordinated development of the MLC with relevant regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, including ASEAN, the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program, MRC, and the ACMECS in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and complementarity. The Ministers of Mekong countries welcomed China as a Development Partner of ACMECS.
17. The Ministers unanimously reaffirmed their continued support for multilateralism, upholding the international order underpinned by the international law, the UN-centered international system, and the rule-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as its foundation. The Ministers restated that the MLC is aimed at building a community of shared future of peace and prosperity and establishing the MLC as an example of a new type of international relations, based on the principles of consensus, equality, mutual consultation and coordination, voluntarism, common contribution and shared benefits, respect for the United Nations Charter and international laws.
18. The Ministers congratulates the MLC Diplomatic Joint Working Group for their relentless work in preparations for the successful conclusion of the Fifth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the spirit of friendship, openness and inclusiveness.
19. The Ministers expressed their readiness to work together for the success of the upcoming Third MLC Leaders’ Meeting in Lao PDR in 2020.
20. The Ministers expressed their appreciation to Lao PDR for the excellent arrangements of the Meeting.
21. The Sixth Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Myanmar and co-chaired by Myanmar and China. The dates and venue will be decided in due course by the Co-Chairs.