Chinese premier predicts economy grew '6.9 percent'

Chinese premier predicts economy grew '6.9 percent'

In the past year, China's economy has maintained a steady and favourable trend, with the overall situation better than expected, Li said at the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Forum on Wednesday.

China, whose Premier Li Keqiang co-chaired the meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, has injected $300 million to fund related cooperation projects, according to the document. Founded by China in 2015, the summit brings together six countries through which the 4350-kilometre Mekong River flows.

They will also discuss the socio-economic development of the member countries and the reduction of the gap among them, the support for the Association of South Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the boost of South-South Cooperation as a contribution to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn, Cambodia signed a new cooperation agreement with China in December, receiving more than US$7 million to fund various projects, including monitoring water quality, restoring forests and combating land degradation.

It is a consensus of the Cambodian government and people to consolidate and develop friendship with China, he said, vowing firm support for China on issues regarding its core interest.

Li said China is willing to work with Cambodia to make good arrangement for celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic ties and strengthen the bilateral cooperation in the areas of economic zones, infrastructure building, tourism, agriculture and deep processing of agricultural products. Their fruit exports to China have increased at 21 percent annually over the past decade. China is Cambodia's biggest source of aid, investment and imports.

With control over the headwaters of the river - known in China as the Lancang - Beijing can dam its section while the impacts are felt downstream. The body was seen as a rival to the long-standing Mekong River Commission, which has been around for more than 60 years but whose membership does not include China and Myanmar.

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In 2018, China will offer short-term training and in-service education for 2,000 people from the Mekong countries and 100 four-year scholarships for undergraduates.

The first summit was convened on March 23, 2016, mapping out orientations for the co-operation mechanism, which is promoting comprehensive connection to build a responsible community and common benefit in the Mekong sub-region.

In the two years since the LMC's creation, China has hosted three foreign ministers' meetings and set aside billions of dollars to support 45 projects under the mechanism, including water resource research centres and cooperation on connectivity projects, industrial capacity, border trade, agriculture and poverty alleviation.

With progress and results delivered daily, monthly and annually, the Chinese premier said a truly remarkable LMC speed had been created, and a defining LMC culture featuring equality, sincerity, mutual assistance and kinship had been established.

The biennial MLC Leaders' Meeting is organised in rotation among the member countries.

The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwestern China.

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