|Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son speaks at the meeting
Addressing the event, Son affirmed that Vietnam treasures and continues actively contributing to cooperation among the six MLC countries.
With the goal of building a better future for their people, he put forth four priority areas of cooperation in the coming time, including advancing foundational industries by gradually transforming from processing and assembly to research, design, and manufacturing; and fostering innovation, technology application and transfer.
The second suggestion was accelerating digital transformation through policy dialogues on digital economy and cybersecurity. This entails collaboration in developing digital workforce, smart cities, digitising micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and encouraging the establishment of digital infrastructure and application of new-generation technologies into the manufacturing industry.
He also called for greater efforts to promote environmental protection and green growth by strengthening cooperation in developing a green circular bio-economy, clean and renewable energy, smart agriculture; and expediting the completion and implementation of the MLC Water Resources Cooperation Action Plan for 2023-2027. The scope of data sharing on meteorology, hydrology, and dam operation should be expanded while closer coordination between the MLC and the Mekong River Commission should be enhanced, Son said.
In his view, promoting trade cooperation, establishing intelligent supply chains, facilitating connections between MSMEs and multinational corporations, and reforming the investment environment are also key components of this collaborative effort.
The Vietnamese minister's speech was welcomed and highly evaluated by the participating member countries.
Ministers hailed the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Special Fund for assisting member countries in carrying out over 700 small and medium-sized projects across various sectors such as trade, agriculture, tourism, water resource management, environment, health, poverty reduction, and women's empowerment.
Building upon the past achievements, they agreed to step up the MLC cooperation with a priority given to innovation, assisting the modernisation of countries and creating new momentum for sub-regional cooperation. They concurred to explore the possibility of establishing the Mekong-Lancang Innovation Corridor with people being put at the centre, and developing the Mekong-Lancang Economic Belt. This initiative aims to enhance the application of advanced technologies in economic development, boost infrastructure connectivity, facilitate trade and investment, support the transition to clean energy and promote green growth.
They reaffirmed their commitment to prioritising water management in the Mekong-Lancang region, expediting the completion of the Action Plan for MLC Water Resources Cooperation for the 2023-2027 period. They expressed their support for Vietnam's hosting of the second MLC Ministerial Meeting on Water Resources in 2024.
The meeting also vowed to increase people-to-people exchanges as well as education and tourism collaboration.
Founded in 2016, the MLC consists of six member countries, namely Thailand, China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam./.