China to play rising role in GMS

Updated: 2011-12-17 08:48

(China Daily)

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BEIJING - China will further its cooperation with the other Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) members on road, water transportation, railway, and civil aviation in the future.

China made the pledges in a report released on Friday on the nation's participation in GMS cooperation prior to the fourth Summit of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program, scheduled for Dec 19 and 20 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's administrative capital.

Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo will attend the summit, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Established in 1992 with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, the program brings together China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, countries sharing the Mekong River. It is designed to enhance economic relations between the countries. Next year marks the 20th anniversary of GMS cooperation.

In a bid to boost regional cooperation, China said it will actively promote the construction of transportation passages and related infrastructure in the GMS, the report said.

China will speed up the renovation and improvement of the various domestic sections of the north-south passages as well as related port facilities so as to form a road network covering all GMS countries as soon as possible, according to the report.

China will speed up the construction of its domestic section of the Pan-Asia Railway, and take an active part in international cooperation to make joint efforts with other GMS members for the project.

China will also increase its role in international shipping cooperation in areas including the Lancang-Mekong River, the report said.

Earlier this year, 13 Chinese crewmembers were killed in a bloody attack, prompting joint patrols by countries along the river to safeguard the water lane.

The Mekong River, which originates from the Tanggula Mountain Range on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China and runs 4,880 kilometers southward through six countries, China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, is an important transnational river in Asia and even the world. The section in China is called the Lancang River. The Lancang-Mekong Subregion has received lots of attention from the regional and international communities since the 1990s, due to its rising geological importance.

China also said in the report that it will continue to pursue environmental cooperation and advance the protection of the GMS ecological environment.

China will carry out cooperation on ecological restoration, poverty relief, the protection of forest ecological systems and biodiversity and the implementation of international environmental conventions. It will also advance the organizational development and capability enhancement of environmental administration agencies to promote the sustainable development of the Greater Mekong Subregion, the report said.

The report said that the Chinese government will further improve cooperation mechanisms and raise efficiency in promoting regional tourism, cultivating an integrated GMS tourism destination and advancing GMS tourism facilitation by actively studying the possibility of a single GMS tourism visa system.