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Full Text: Country Report on China´s Participation in Greater Mekong Subregion Cooperation

Source: Xinhua | 03-28-2008 16:37

BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The following is the full text of the Country Report on China's Participation in Greater Mekong Subregion Cooperation, which was jointly issued by China's National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance in Beijing on Thursday:

  I. Executive Summary

The Mekong River, an important transnational river in Asia of a total length of 4880 kilometers, originates from the Tanggula Mountain Range on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, running through Qinghai Province, Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province of China as well as Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam from north to south, and flows from the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam into the South China Sea. The section of the Mekong River within the Chinese border is called the Lancang River.

As a land bridge connecting China with Southeast Asia and South Asia, the Greater Mekong Sub-region (hereafter also referred to as "GMS") is highly important geographically. It covers a whole area of 2.5686 million square kilometers, with a total population of approximately 320 million. Abundant with natural resources, it has a huge market, a long history and colorful ethnic cultures. Rich in water, biological and mineral resources, the Greater Mekong Sub-region has great economic potential and development prospects.

The countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion have long historic traditions, beautiful landscapes, and colorful ethnic cultures. For a very long period of time, the development of economy and society in the region has lagged behind due to a variety of factors. Among these countries, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are on the UN list of the least developed countries. In recent years, these countries have been reforming their economic systems, restructuring industries and opening wider to the outside world, with boosting the economic growth being their common goal.

In 1992, in response to the advocating by Asian Development Bank, the six countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion held the first ministerial meeting and jointly initiated the GMS economic cooperation mechanism in order to enhance economic relations among these countries, promote economic and social development in the region, and achieve common prosperity. Henceforth, the GMS ministerial meeting has been held once a year in principle.

On November 3rd, 2002, the first GMS summit was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which approved The Strategic Framework for the Next Ten Years' Development in the GMS and determined that the GMS summit would be held once every three years and the member countries would take turn to host the meeting. The GMS cooperation thus ascended to the summit level and entered a new stage.

The second GMS summit was held between July 4th and July 5th of2005 in Kunming, China, where the six participant countries signed a number of cooperation documents covering facilitation of cargo and passenger transportation, prevention and control of animal epidemics, construction of information highways and power trade, and approved a number of cooperation proposals related to issues such as construction of biodiversity protection corridors and the action framework of the GMS for facilitation of trade and investment. The meeting laid down a guiding principle for GMS cooperation, of which the main elements are "Mutual respect, equal consultation, practical results, gradual progresses", opening a new page for GMS cooperation.

GMS cooperation is project-oriented and provides financial and technological support as per the actual needs of member countries of the region. Since its initiation, GMS cooperation has concentrated on five strategic fields, namely, infrastructure construction, cross-border trade and investment, participation by private sectors, human resource development, and environmental protection and sustainable utilization of natural resources. Till the end of 2007, 10 billion dollars had been spent on 180 cooperation projects in nine key fields, namely, transportation, energy, telecommunications, environment, agriculture, human resource development, tourism, trade facilitation, and investment, lending great momentum to the economic and social development of GMS countries. Of these cooperation projects, 34 were investment projects costing a total of 9.87 billion dollars, of which 3.426 billion dollars was supplied by ADB and 2.98 billion and 3.466 billion respectively by GMS members and other development partners. The other 146 projects were technological aid projects costing a total of 166 million dollars, of which 75.79 million dollars was granted by ADB.

The other countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion are all friendly neighbors of China, and they and China have maintained a long tradition of friendship. China has always attached importance to enhancing and developing its friendly and neighborly relationships with the other countries in the region. Recent years have witnessed very frequent high-level visits, increasing personnel travels, daily closer trade and economic connections, more active social and cultural exchanges, and expanding and deepening cooperation in various fields between China and the other GMS countries.

China is willing to work with the other GMS countries to bring GMS cooperation to an ever greater depth, so as to speed up infrastructure construction, push forward facilitation and liberation of trade and investment, and try to realize regional interconnection in the GMS; to boost ability building and mutual exchanges, strengthen the integral competitiveness, promote the overall economic and social development, and raise the living standards of the people of the region; further consolidate and develop China's traditional relationships with the other GMS countries and jointly create a regional environment characterized by peace and stability, mutual trust, and win-win cooperation.

The third GMS summit will be held in Vientiane, Laos between March 30th and March 31st of 2008. China will work with the other countries of the region as well as ADB to make elaborate plans and careful preparations to ensure that the meeting will generate specific and practical results, so as to further broaden and deepen GMS cooperation and make contribution to the common prosperity of all GMS countries.