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Mekong-ROK leaders praise success of cooperation framework

Leaders of the Mekong countries and the Republic of Korea have praised the results of past cooperation and observed that the cooperation framework has continuously grown.
The leaders met at the 1st Mekong-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit in Busan yesterday and commended the successful implementation of projects under the Mekong-ROK cooperation fund in member countries, which have made significant contributions to social and economic development in the region.

The Lao delegation attending the 1st Mekong-ROK Summit was led by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. The summit was co-chaired by the President of the Republic of Korea, Mr Moon Jae-in, and Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Laos, the summit marks an important milestone in elevating cooperation mechanisms to a  higher level, as well as being a platform for the formulation of future plans for the Mekong-ROK cooperation framework, to further promote economic growth in the Mekong region.
Three projects are being implemented in Laos. The first aims to enhance the capacity of people and poor districts in Laos to access legislation on industry and commerce in preparation for integration, economic cooperation, institutions and commercial openness.
The second project is a master plan and capacity building for the modernisation of meteorological and hydrological infrastructure, and the third is the development of a monitoring system in the Mekong region. The total cost of the three projects is more than US$1.2 million.
The leaders of the Mekong countries expressed their appreciation and thanks to the Republic of Korea for its significant contribution to the cooperation framework, especially the increase in its contribution to the Mekong-ROK cooperation fund from US$1.12 million in 2018 to US$2 million in 2019, and plans to increase to US$3 million in 2020.
According to the Korea Herald, South Korea and the five Mekong nations adopted the Mekong-Han River Declaration on Wednesday, pledging to increase cooperation.
The Mekong-Han River Declaration for Establishing Partnership for People, Prosperity and Peace was adopted at the Mekong-Korea Summit in Busan on Wednesday, following on the heels of the two-day Asean-ROK Commemorative Summit, which wrapped up on Tuesday.
The declaration outlines cooperation plans in seven areas comprising culture and tourism, human resources development, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure, information and communications technology, the environment, and nonconventional security.
President Moon Jae-in added that the leaders of the Mekong nations - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - had expressed support for Korea’s New Southern Policy and agreed to three ways in which Korea-Mekong relations should be developed to establish a “Korea-Mekong partnership of peace and prosperity”.
He said Korea and other concerned nations would cooperate to establish state-run research organisations using the Korea Development Institute and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology as models, and that the countries would strengthen cooperation in public administration.
The joint declaration also states that the six countries will collaborate to apply information and communication technologies to a number of areas, including education, emerging industries and forest conservation.
In addition, the countries will launch a “Korea-Mekong peace community project” to remove landmines and unexploded ordnance.
President Moon added that the leaders of the Mekong nations had given their support for Korea’s “Peace Forest Initiative” and agreed to increase cooperation in related areas.He added that the six nations had agreed to designate 2021 as the “year of Korea-Mekong exchange”, to mark the 10th anniversary of minister-level cooperation among the countries.

BySisay Vilaysack
(Latest Update November 28, 2019)


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