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3rd GMS Summit opens
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The third summit meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) opened in Vientiane on Monday during which the prime ministers will discuss ways to deepen economic cooperation for their countries' shared prosperity.

The theme of the Third GMS Summit is "Enhancing Competitiveness through Greater Connectivity".

Leaders of the six countries sharing the Mekong River – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam will discuss coordinated actions to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development in the region through expanded transportation and telecommunication linkages, streamlined trade agreements, and greater environmental management efforts.

In his opening speech, Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh asked the GMS leaders to consider the endorsement of the GMS Plan of Action for the period 2008-2012.

He called on GMS nations to make more efforts in infrastructure development so as to enhance competitiveness of the subregion.

He asked GMS countries to focus on the construction and rehabilitation of the remaining sections of GMS corridors while expanding the corridor network through multimodal linkages.

On energy, the Lao prime minister urged more efforts to enhance the Interaction Connectivity Map in building new power generation and transmission facilities while encouraging energy purchase with competitive prices.

He called on GMS countries to join hands in improving the infrastructure connectivity by establishing a mechanism and regulations that will facilitate goods and public transport among the countries.

The preservation of environment and natural resources will remain as one of the key components of the GMS Plan of Action, he said.

The leaders are being joined by Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda. ADB has been the lead supporter of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program since 1992.

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)
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