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ROK and Mekong Nations to Further Enhance Cooperation

The foreign ministers of the Mekong nations, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam agreed to further enhance more cooperation on three pillars of People, Prosperity and Peace and the seven priority areas in the Mekong-Han River Declaration, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

At the 11th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the foreign ministers of the six nations reviewed the progress made thus far under the Mekong-ROK cooperation based on the three pillars of People, Prosperity and Peace and the seven priority areas in the Mekong-Han River Declaration—(i) Culture and Tourism, (ii) Human Resources Development, (iii) Agriculture and Rural Development, (iv) Infrastructure, (v) Information and Communication Technology (ICT), (vi) Environment, and (vii) Non-traditional Security Challenges.

The Ministers renewed their commitment to further facilitating the wider application of ICT in governance, strengthening cooperation, engagement of private sector and promoting further investment in future industries and digital transformation in the Mekong sub-region, especially in the field of digital economy, national single window, e-commerce, cybersecurity, secured 5G network, artificial intelligence and big data, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging challenges.

The Meeting agreed to extend “the Mekong-ROK Exchange Year” to 2022 to foster cultural exchanges and deepen mutual understanding by holding various events among the six countries pending the endorsement at the 3rd Mekong-ROK Summit. In addition, the Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers welcomed with high hopes the 9th Mekong-ROK Business Forum, which will be held in Cambodia later this year.

Taking this opportunity, H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation accentuated the pivotal role of the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Frameworks and New Southern Policy Plus (NSPP) in maintaining peace and stability in the Mekong sub-region.

On collective determination to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, H.E. Prak Sokhonn underscored the need to speed up the vaccination process in an inclusive and non-discriminatory manner. As for initial economic recovery amidst the pandemic, he further highlighted that member countries must plan for a safe travel through a regional recognition of vaccine certificate, an efficient PCR Check-point at all airports and borders, and an interconnected COVID-19 contact-tracing and monitoring system.

“Our regional Post-pandemic Recovery Plan should also be carefully deployed to ensure resilience and sustainability of our economies through stronger public-private cooperation, capacity building of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and enhancement of soft and hard connectivity to facilitate trade and investment, green energy, and digital transformation in the Mekong sub-region,” he underlined.

At the end of the Meeting, the Ministers adopted the Co-chaired Statement of the 11th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and endorsed seven supported projects for 2021 under 5th batch of the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF) for the six Mekong-ROK countries and the Mekong Institute (MI).

The Meeting concluded with fruitful outcomes through shared understanding on regional and international issues, particularly the joint efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and commitment to build resilience for the regional economy.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press