China to prioritize Mekong countries for COVID-19 vaccine
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Monday promised five Southeast Asian partners priority access to a coronavirus vaccine and pledged to share water control information for flood-hit nations along the Mekong River.
Stressing the significance of solidarity and cooperation in the global fight against the pandemic, Li said China is willing to work with Mekong countries to support the work of the World Health Organization, according to CGTN.
Li made the remarks at a videoconference of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) leaders’ meeting, a cooperation platform involving China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand also attended the conference.
The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through the other five countries before emptying into the sea.
LMC partners would be given priority access to the vaccine after China had fully developed it and put it into use, Li said, according to a report from state-run China Radio International.
The Chinese premier also announced China will share annual hydrological information for the Lancang River with Mekong countries starting this year, to better address climate change as well as floods and droughts.
Calling the six Lancang-Mekong countries a de facto community with a shared future linked by the same water, Li said their cooperation originates from water, which is an important part of the cooperation and enriches the LMC spirit of friendship, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation, CGTN reported.
He said the legitimate rights and interests of Lancang-Mekong countries to develop and utilize water resources should be fully respected, and all parties’ interests and concerns should be accommodated.
“China is willing to offer more assistance within its capacity to other Lancang-Mekong countries for better utilizing water resources,” Li said.
In addition, China will join with other countries this year to build an information-sharing platform for water resources cooperation, according to Li.
The Chinese premier proposed synergizing the LMC with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, which traverses western China and connects Southeast Asia with the Eurasian continent.
He said the greater synergy between the LMC and the corridor will make trade routes more convenient and enable the leveraging of more resources from western and southwestern China and other ASEAN countries, and thus channel more inputs to the Mekong countries.
This will help optimize the allocation of resources, keep industrial and supply chains stable and spur coordinated development, the premier said.
Also attending the conference were Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Myanmar’s President U Win Myint, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.