Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has voiced his strong support for the Mekong-Japan cooperation mechanism to promote prosperity, stability and sustainable development in the Mekong Delta and East Asia.
At the 4th Mekong-Japan summit in Tokyo on April 21, Dung said priority should be given to assisting regional countries to cope with natural disasters, primarily flooding, prevent salt infiltration, maintain food security and effectively use the Mekong River water resource.
He called for a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the exploitation and use of the Mekong River water resource, as well as hydro-power projects on the environment in the region in the long run.
He introduced an initiative on developing a multi-modal transport system to facilitate links between economic corridors in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
The initiative has received support from participating delegates.
The meeting brought together leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) nations, namely Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand, and the host country Japan.
The leaders reviewed the implementation of programs and projects under the 63-point Action Program, the Mekong-Japan Economic and Industrial Cooperation Initiative and the Green Mekong Initiative.
They adopted the "Tokyo Strategy for Mekong-Japan Cooperation", charting a development course for Mekong-Japan cooperation for over next three years (2013-2015).
They agreed to increase connectivity within the GMS and between the region and its outside partners by developing inter-national transport corridors, building communications infrastructure, and modernising customs services.
They agreed to boost trade and economic cooperation between GMS countries and Japan, raise the GMS’s status in the global value chain, develop industries, and improve the business environment.
They also pledged to work closely to address climate change issues, manage and use the Mekong River water sustainably, reduce environmental pollution, respond to natural disasters and epidemics, and achieve food security and safety.
Three cooperation pillars
At a press conference held shortly after the summit, Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda, who chaired the summit, said the meeting identified three pillars for Mekong-Japan cooperation in 2013-2015.
They are strengthening connectivity within the GMS, promoting trade and investment cooperation, and increasing cooperation in the environment and human security.
Noda said Japan will commit 600 billion Yen in official development assistance (ODA) to GMS countries in 2013-2015, and support these countries in meeting millennium development goals.
He pledged to mobilise financial resources worth 2.3 trillion Yen to carry out 57 infrastructure projects in the GMS countries.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung welcomed Japan’s commitment, showing the country’s goodwill toward GMS countries despite its ongoing efforts to overcome the March 2011 earthquake and tsunamis.
He briefed the press on Vietnam’s initiative on developing a multi-modal transport system, saying such a system will make full use of the river network in the region, support land and maritime transportation, facilitate tourism development, and help cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Dung said during discussions participating delegates stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of maritime transport in the East Sea.
The leaders held that any disputes in the East Sea should be settled through peaceful means in the spirit of common awareness and mutual respect, and in conformity with international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) toward formulating the Code of Conduct (COC).