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GMS – bonds of friendship, cooperation
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The upcoming third Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) meeting will provide an opportunity for its members to implement cooperation deals, consolidate their partnerships and achieve common prosperity, an article in the People's Daily said on Friday.

Over the past 16 years, GMS economic cooperation has been fruitful, bringing the region to the forefront of Asian economic growth, it said.

The GMS Summit will be held in Vientiane, Laos, on March 30-31, bringing together leaders from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for discussions on regional cooperation and development.

By the end of 2007, GMS countries have carried out more than 180 cooperation projects in nine key areas such as transportation, energy and telecommunications, giving a strong impetus to the economic development in these countries, said the opinion piece carried by the leading Chinese newspaper.

The general populaces in these countries have become the biggest beneficiary of GMS cooperation, which has achieved mutual benefit and all-win results and made positive contributions to the region's economic and social development.

In their long-term cooperation, GMS countries have shown mutual respect and treated each other in a frank and open manner, and their efforts have helped maintain regional stability and promote social prosperity, the article said.

In recent years, the GMS countries have enhanced mutual political trust and expanded their common interests through regional cooperation, and the GMS economic cooperation has become an important platform for them to seek development through consultation and dialogue and to seize opportunities and face up to challenges, it said.

China, a beneficiary of GMS cooperation, has also made contributions to the GMS' development. China attaches great importance to and has always been taking an active part in GMS cooperation in various areas with a pragmatic approach, it said.

Over the past year, bilateral trade and mutual investments between China and the other GMS countries have witnessed substantial growth and their cooperation in the spheres of transportation, energy, telecommunications, agriculture, the environment, health, tourism, and human resources have also made new progress, it said.

China is currently working with the other GMS countries to strive to make the GMS an overland trade route linking China with Southeast Asia, in efforts to realize liberalization and facilitation in trade among the GMS countries, coordinate the GMS' economic and social development and that of the ecological environment and continue to raise the living standard of the peoples of the GMS countries.

At the summit, the leaders of the GMS countries are expected to coordinate their positions on ways of further deepening their cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, trade facilitation and investment, agriculture, health, environmental protection and human resource development, the article said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2008)

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