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Wang Yi: Build the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Economic Development Belt to Complement Each Other's Strengths and Achieve Common Development

On December 17, 2018 local time, after attending the 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Luang Prabang Province of Laos, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi informed the Chinese and foreign journalists that building the LMC economic development belt is a consensus reached at the 2nd LMC Leaders' Meeting in January this year, and Foreign Ministers from the six LMC countries held discussions in this regard. All sides agreed to launch the concrete implementation plan of the economic development belt. Wang Yi said that the core connotation of the economic development belt is to rely on the Lancang-Mekong golden waterway, utilize key industrial towns and major infrastructure projects and cover and facilitate the development of the whole Lancang-Mekong River basin so as to enhance the quality, raise the efficiency and seek upgrading of the sub-region's economic development.

Wang Yi said that why should we build the LMC economic development belt? It is because the LMC countries, with fairly prominent economic connectivity and complementarity, are natural cooperative partners. Facing the rise of unilateralism and protectionism, the six LMC countries need more than ever to jointly cope with external challenges through promoting regional cooperation and upholding openness and inclusiveness.

Wang Yi stressed that on building the LMC economic development belt, efforts should be made in following five perspectives. The first is coordination-driven approach. The six LMC countries should coordinate development strategies, complement each other's strengths, promote the reasonable flow and optimal allocation of production factors and improve the sub-regional industrial chain and value chain so as to achieve coordinated development. The second is industry-driven approach. The six LMC countries should give full play to the radiating role of key industrial towns and major infrastructure projects and strive to build one or two industrial capacity cooperation parks under the LMC framework in each country to form a pattern of multiple parks in the six countries and achieve comprehensive development and industrialization. The third is innovation-driven approach. Efforts should be made to strengthen digital infrastructure and innovation capacity building in order to promote industrial transformation and upgrading and enhance the quality and efficiency of the economic development in the basin area. We should accelerate the development of sub-regional trans-border e-commerce and jointly explore and formulate the development strategy of information technology application of the LMC countries to enhance network connectivity. The fourth is green-driven approach. The six countries should work vigorously to improve the ecological environment, protect and properly use water resources, implement the Green Lancang-Mekong Plan together and explore environmental management models that suit the national conditions of the six countries to make ecology a priority and achieve green development. The fifth is integration-driven approach. With the goal of upgrading regional cooperation to economic integration, the six countries should discuss more convenient and liberalized measures in terms of personnel exchanges, cargo transportation, investment arrangement and financial circulation, in a bid to expand the space for economic growth for the six countries through mutual integration.

Wang Yi noted that through the joint efforts of the six countries, we will surely build an open, inclusive, innovative, efficient, coordinated and win-win LMC economic development belt that enjoys a beautiful environment and integrated connectivity, so as to benefit the countries and people in the sub-region and make contributions to the development of Asia and the world.

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