Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Building an Asian community of shared destiny

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-23 07:39

The first meeting of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, themed "Shared River, Shared Future", in Sanya, south China's Hainan province, on Wednesday, is being held at the right time, because the Lancang-Mekong River is one of the key joints in building an Asia of shared destiny. Key joints refer to subregions that link countries or regions. Cross-border interactions are rather frequent in key joints, making them an indispensable part of economic cooperation and security governance mechanism.

The Mekong cooperation program dates back to the 1950s, when Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia established a commission to co-exploit the river's resources.

In 1990s, the program was adopted into the cooperation framework of the United Nations and Asian Development Bank. But it is facing problems because of poor infrastructure and security challenges. That's why the other five riparian countries hope China would play a bigger and more positive role in river management. China responded by helping establish the LMC mechanism in November, making the establishment of a community of shared destiny its chief purpose.

Among the LMC's targeted projects, the Kunming-Bangkok Road has already been opened, the foundation for China-Laos railway laid, and work on China-Thailand railway started. Also, joint patrolling along the Mekong River has become a regular affair.

Besides, China has released water from the Jinghong Dam to help the five countries down-stream to deal with the drought. This move suggests how the LMC can build an Asia of shared destiny.

As a new micro-regional cooperation arrangement, the LMC will echo China's other initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and play a greater role in building a community of shared destiny.

Zheng Xianwu is an associate professor at the School of International Studies, Nanjing University.

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