Summit of Mekong River countries kicks off

March 30th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by admin  

Bangkok, March 30 (DPA) The third summit of the six-nation Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) group, connected by the Mekong River, was officially launched Sunday morning in land-locked Lao capital Vientiane, Radio Laos reported. The bloc comprises Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

It was established in 1992 to promote economic and social development, irrigation and cooperation within the six countries linked by the 4,200-km river.

Khamthan Suthienamtha, secretary general of the Youth Union of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, opened the meeting expressing his optimism that the summit would help “meet the strategic targets of the younger generation in all six countries”.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao arrived Saturday to attend the summit and met Lao President Choummaly Saygnasone Sunday morning to discuss bilateral relations.

China has become a leading aid donor to Laos in recent years. Chinese companies have become major investors, especially in rubber plantations and hydroelectricity projects, in the land-locked communist country of less than six million people but a landmass equal to half of France.

The summit co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank is expected to mark the official opening of a 1,800 km road from Kunming, in China, to Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

Besides Wen, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar junta leader General Thein arrived in Vientiane Saturday to attend the summit, which will also be attended by the premiers of Thailand and Vietnam.

Xinhua from Phon Penh reported: The Summit is expected to endorse a five-year action plan (2008-2012) to foster economic growth and prosperity in the region.

The leaders at the summit meeting will discuss coordinated actions to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development.

To achieve this, expanded transportation and telecommunication linkages will be established, trade agreements will be streamlined and greater environmental management efforts will be given a boost, according to a statement by the Asian Development Bank.

The bloc focuses on nine development areas - agriculture, energy, environment, human resource development, private investment, telecommunications, tourism, trade and transportation, the statement said.

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