Prime ministers of the six countries sharing the Mekong River on Monday endorsed a comprehensive five-year Plan of Action that aims to spur growth, reduce poverty, promote social development and enhance environmental protection in the subregion.
The prime ministers from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam endorsed the Vientiane Plan of Action for GMS Development for 2008-2012 before wrapping up the Third GMS Summit.
Under the Plan of Action for 2008-2012, the six nations have committed themselves to accelerating the construction and improvement of the remaining sections of GMS transport corridors, including a rail link joining Singapore and the Chinese city of Kunming.
The six nations have committed themselves to devoting more resources to rural communications development; to implementing new biofuel and rural renewable energy development initiatives; to intensifying efforts to protect forests so as to reduce environmental risks; to strengthening the sustainable management of natural and cultural tourism sites.
The six nations also have committed themselves to implementing a new strategic action plan for cooperation in education, health and labor; enhancing the prevention and control of communicable diseases in border areas; and harmonizing trade procedures, and facilitating border crossing formalities.
They agreed that raising economic competitiveness and accelerating socioeconomic development process through the greater use of improved and expanded connectivity will be the key focus of the six countries' cooperation in the coming years.
In addition to agreeing on the Plan of Action, leaders witnessed the signing of agreements to facilitate cross border power trade, and promote development along major regional transport corridors.
They also celebrated the completion of a new surregional telecommunications backbone – the foundation of a GMS Information Superhighway Network that will help spur growth and development – and officially opened an overland highway connecting China and Thailand via Laos.
The First GMS Summit was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2002, while the Second GMS Summit was held in Kunming, China in July 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2008)