Beijing (VNA) – Vietnam hopes for a closer coordination between Mekong countries in planning, using and regulating the water resources in the Mekong River, known as the Lancang in China, to ensure regional sustainable development, said Vietnamese Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi in an interview with Vietnam News Agency.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh will head a Vietnamese delegation to attend the first Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) leaders’ meeting and the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province, China, on March 22-24.
The ambassador said the first MLC meeting marks the first time all six countries along the Mekong River meet on joint efforts for sustainable development in the sub-Mekong region.
He noted that the meeting is expected to adopt the Sanya Declaration – outlining long-term principles and orientations for the MLC cooperation.
The event also looks to pass a Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation among Mekong-Lancang countries and Early Harvest Projects for MLC, he added.
The adoption of these documents will enable a pragmatic mechanism for MLC members, supplementing their current collaboration frameworks in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and create more added value for the cooperation among the six Mekong countries, he said.
The engagement of half of ASEAN member states in the MLC cooperation mechanism will make a significant contribution to pushing the ASEAN-China strategic partnership forward, he said.
The establishment of the MLC in 2016 also holds significance as ASEAN and China celebrate their 25th founding anniversary of bilateral partnership, he added.
Through the enhancement of affiliation in five key areas – namely water resources, production capacity, cross-border trade, agriculture and poverty reduction, - the MLC will play a crucial role in promoting sustainable development and reinforcing the good neighbourly relations among the six countries, he said.
Regarding the relations between Vietnam and China, the Ambassador said Vietnam as a downstream country, welcomes and highly appreciates China’s recent decision of increasing the release of water in the upper Mekong River to address the severe drought and salt intrusions in the lower part of the river, especially the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
He said this is a positive sign for the closer cooperation in sustainable management and utilisation of water resources among Mekong countries.
Ambassador Khoi also noted the development trend in Vietnam-China ties over the past time, as seen in the regular exchanges of delegations and contact in various forms between the two countries’ leaders.
In 2015, Vietnamese and Chinese Party General Secretaries conducted visits to each other’s countries and reached a lot of important common perceptions on reinforcing bilateral traditional friendship, increasing mutual political trust, enhancing practical healthy cooperation and effectively controlling any disputes, he said.
The bilateral collaboration in economics, trade, investment and tourism has seen new development, he said, adding that the two countries agreed to promote the connectivity between the “two corridors, one belt” framework and the “one belt, one road” initiative.
Both nations have also worked to enhance cooperation in production capacity and will soon set up working groups to discuss and sign a master plan on building cross-border economic cooperation parks, he noted.
The Ambassador said China has pledged to pay more attention to Vietnam’s trade deficit with China, the trade situation will gradually change for the better.
As regards East Sea issues, the diplomat stressed the need to strictly obey the common perceptions reached by leaders of the two Parties and States on addressing maritime issues, implement the Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related matters, and effectively employ the Government-level negotiation mechanism on Vietnam-China boundary and territory issues.
He also said the two sides should persistently seek mutually acceptable fundamental and long-lasting solutions through negotiations in accordance with international law, while actively discussing transitional solutions which do not affect the stance and policy of both sides.
The ambassador reiterated the importance of effectively controlling the situation at sea, implementing fully and effectively the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and reaching the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) as soon as possible.
Both sides should not take any actions that can further complicate the situation while promptly and effectively addressing any arising problems, thus helping develop the Vietnam-China relationship and maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea as well as in the region and the world as a whole, Khoi said.
The Mekong - Lancang countries are China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.-VNA