Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia calls for unity among Mekong countries

Cambodia calls for unity among Mekong countries

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn during the sixth Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing. Foreign Ministry

Cambodia calls for unity among Mekong countries

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn urged all Mekong countries to join hands in tackling the Covid-19 crisis by ensuring that adequate supplies of vaccines and other vital medicines are available to their respective nations.

Sokhonn made the call at the sixth Mekong-Lanchang Cooperation (MLC) ministerial meeting on June 8 in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, where he also attended the special ASEAN-China foreign ministers’ meeting. The MLC member countries are China, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

“His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn stressed that the MLC must continue to show solidarity in addressing this global health crisis and attach a high priority to ensuring adequate access to vaccines and medications as global public goods,” the ministry said in a press release on June 9.

Sokhonn spoke highly of China’s leading role in and commitment to providing important medicines, medical supplies and millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the Mekong countries in a timely manner.

All of the ministers commended the MLC countries’ cooperative efforts as they worked together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the press release said.

They called for strengthening the joint cooperation on access to important medical supplies and vaccines, sharing their experiences with outbreak response and fully utilizing the MLC Special Fund for Public Health to address the current pandemic and any similar incidents that may arise in the future.

All of the ministers appreciated the MLC Special Fund’s support for over 500 projects in numerous areas of concern including water resources, agriculture, education, poverty reduction and public health since its establishment, the press release said.

“The ministers praised the six countries for making great effort towards implementing their projects during the pandemic, despite the added difficulties.

“The ministers welcomed the list of the projects supported by the MLC Special Fund in 2021, in which a total of 12 Cambodian projects were approved, accumulating to a total sum of 67 projects approved for Cambodia,” according to the press release.

In the third MLC leaders’ meeting that took place last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his gratitude for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s proposal to import more quality agro-products and livestock from the Mekong countries.

“Recently, shipments of fresh mangos were exported from Cambodia to China in addition to existing shipments of other fruits and agricultural products,” the press release said.

At the sixth MLC ministerial meeting, all of the ministers agreed to adopt the initiatives aimed at deepening cooperation among the local governments of the MLC countries.

Other areas of accord were reached with joint statements issued on enhancing sustainable development cooperation and deepening cooperation on traditional medicines within the MLC framework.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, told The Post on June 10 that the fight against Covid-19 necessitated international cooperation because the disease did not respect borders and it was a global crisis.

“Thus, the joint efforts of the countries in the region are necessary, including on vaccines and economic recovery,” he said.

Phea said China is still an economic locomotive for regional growth, especially in Cambodia, which has strong ties with China in terms of trade, exports and imports and investment.

In a bilateral meeting between Sokkhon and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, the two ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work closely to strengthen their long-standing ties and friendly relations between their neighbouring countries.

Sokhonn praised Thailand for successfully producing vaccines and thanked the Thai government and the Thai private sector for their donations of assistance to Cambodia for controlling its Covid-19 outbreak. He also thanked them for taking good care of the Cambodian people who are working and living in Thailand.

In order to reach the two-way trade target of $15 billion set by Cambodia and Thailand’s two prime ministers at the third joint cabinet retreat, the two foreign ministers encouraged relevant parties on both sides of the border to redouble their efforts in facilitating the flow of trade through the border checkpoints, according to the press release.

“Both sides agreed to hold the 11th meeting of the joint commission for bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand later this year or early next year in Cambodia, and they hoped that it would be held face-to-face,” the press release said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,