Prayut set for vital Mekong region summit

Prayut set for vital Mekong region summit

Six nations tipped to approve 5-year plan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks. The prime minister is not expected to raise discussion of the Chinese plans to dynamite shoals and islets in the Mekong River off Chiang Rai province. (File photo)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks. The prime minister is not expected to raise discussion of the Chinese plans to dynamite shoals and islets in the Mekong River off Chiang Rai province. (File photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha next Wednesday will attend the 2nd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Summit in Phnom Penh, where it is expected leaders will approve a five-year action plan.

Leaders of six countries -- China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand -- are expected to endorse two documents: The Five-Year Plan of Action on Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (2018–2022), and the Phnom Penh Declaration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said Thursday.

The Phnom Penh Declaration is the expression of the political will of the leaders for social and economic development for the people in the Mekong region. It is expected to set guidelines for the implementation of the action plan, she said.

"Thailand will push for the cooperation to be up-to-date and in line with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as well as linking economic corridors with the BRI for sustainable development in the sub-region," she said.

The cooperation "must be coherent but not redundant" with the development of Thailand 4.0 and the Eastern Economic Corridor, she said.

Thailand also emphasised water resource management will lead to sustainable development especially in agriculture along the Mekong region. Meanwhile, Thailand will host a meeting of the working group in the later half of this year.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in mid-December attended the Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Dali, Yunnan Province, China.

The LMC was established in 2015 while the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Summit was in March 2016.

Meanwhile, Thailand and Myanmar have begun removing obstructions in the Sai River, a Thai-Myanmar boundary in Chiang Rai. Thailand will start building a temporary dyke this month so water can be used in Thailand's agricultural areas of 21,082 rai from Jan-June this year, the ministry said.

The dyke will be made with bamboo, it said.

The implementation comes after an agreement by both countries on the rights of navigation, maintenance and the conservation of the tide in the Sai-Nam Ruak rivers at a meeting held on Nov 8, 2017 in Tachileik, Myanmar, the ministry said.

At a separate event, Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat proposed that Southeast Asian countries, especially on the Mekong basin, should join hands in conserving cultural heritage amid the changing environment and threats from natural disasters and man-made threats.

"Depending on any particular agency or any particular country is not enough to conserve, protect and manage these valuable historical sites efficiently," Mr Vira said.

"A network for the exchange of knowledge and cooperation of the countries on the Mekong basin is then very important for the architectural conservation in the region."

He said collaboration from experts in different areas such as architecture, history and arts, and moves to involve local people could promote tourism and bring in a good income.

He was speaking at a seminar at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropo­logy Centre.

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