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Premier Zhu Calls for Further Economic Cooperation in GMS
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Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji Sunday urged countries bordering the Mekong River to enhance their economic cooperation, so as to bring out their respective advantages and accelerate their economic growth.

In a key note speech delivered at the First Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Summit held in Phnom Penh, Zhu said all countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are developing countries with a relatively underdeveloped economy.

"To strengthen economic cooperation among GMS countries conforms to the current trend of economic globalization and regional integration," Zhu said.

Enhanced cooperation can help them participate in global economic cooperation and competition, and strengthen their status as well as that of the whole subregion in global politics and economies, said the Chinese premier.

He noted that the GMS enjoys a great market potential on the strength of its vast area and large population.

Its abundant human, cultural and natural resources and strong complementarity among the GMS economies provide a broad prospect of cooperation, Zhu said.

In order to ensure that regional cooperation move forward along a sound track, Premier Zhu made a three-point proposal on expanding and improving the mechanism of cooperation among the GMS countries.

Firstly, he said, as countries in the GMS vary in size, development level and national conditions, they should adhere to the principle of equal consultation and mutual benefit.

They should steadily promote cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, friendly consultation, and voluntariness, he added.

In the second point of his proposal, Zhu said the GMS countries should adhere to the principle of centering on projects and emphasizing practical results.

"The GMS cooperation should follow its 'result-and action-oriented' principle and focus on promoting the cooperation on specific projects and programs," so as to bring about an all-round development of their riparian economies, the Chinese premier said.

The third point of Zhu's proposal called for adhering to the principle of stressing key areas and proceeding in a step-by-step manner.

"Right now, infrastructure sectors such as communication, energy and telecommunications are the sectors leading the subregional cooperation," Zhu said.

He urged the GMS countries to expand cooperation in wider areas, namely trade facilitation, investment climate improvement, human resources development, tourism, agriculture, drug control and environment.

Zhu stressed that strengthening the GMS cooperation is an undertaking that benefits both the present and the future generations.

He expressed the belief that the GMS economic cooperation will gradually expand and achieve great success with the concerted efforts of all parties to the first GMS summit, which opened here earlier in the day.

(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2002)

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