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Leader of Lancang-Mekong Nations Pledge to Promote Connectivity, Sustainable Development

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 10: Leaders of China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand , Cambodia and Vietnam Join Hands to Promote Connectivity, Sustainable Development  under the Belt and Road Initiative,  a global development plan launched by China to bring  close to 3 billion people and build the biggest market in the world by enhancing connectivity.

While speaking on Lancang-Mekong Cooperation meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday called on five nations living on the Lancang-Mekong River to consolidate political will and deepen economic ties to promote regional peace and sustainable development.

China is willing to work with others to strengthen the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) as China benefits from regional stability and its neighbors are beneficiaries of China's economic vitality, Li said at the second LMC leaders' meeting held in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.

With a theme of "Our River of Peace and Sustainable Development", the meeting brings leaders of China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to the table, discussing issues such as connectivity, water management and industrial production capacity.

The LMC mechanism has produced better-than-expected progress over the past two years as the countries moved forward with the principle of equality, inclusiveness and put development as a priority.

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

The Chinese premier made five proposals to secure shared future for the LMC countries as he said he believed they will become the biggest and earliest beneficiaries of China's development.

He called for stronger coordination among countries along the Lancang-Mekong River on water resource management, accommodating each other's concern, and properly handling the relations between economic development and environmental protection.

In his speech, Li also urged to map out a five-year action plan for water resource cooperation, enhance emergency management on droughts and floods, carry out joint research on water resource and climate change, and improve water quality monitoring system.

Regarding capacity cooperation in water conservancy infrastructure and other areas, Li said China encourages companies to participate in the construction of hydropower stations, reservoir, irrigation and drinking-water projects in Lancang-Mekong countries.

He proposed to nail down plans for those countries' connectivity and action plans for capacity cooperation, and push forward the construction of economic and trade cooperation zones as well as cross-border economic cooperation zones.

To expand agricultural cooperation, Li said China backs its companies to tie up with their partners in Lancang-Mekong countries on the deep processing of agricultural products and the joint development of the third markets.

China is willing to deepen cooperation with Lancang-Mekong countries in agricultural technology and build platforms for technology exchange, joint research as well as investment and trade cooperation, said the premier.

Meanwhile, Li called for upgrading human resource cooperation. China will offer short-term training and in-service education for 2,000 people in Lancang-Mekong countries and 100 four-year scholarships for undergraduates in 2018, he said.

He also urged to facilitate medical and public health cooperation. China is willing to set up mechanism with relevant countries in prevention and control of infectious diseases, carry out cross-border projects on prevention and control of such diseases, and build a network for malaria elimination, Li said.

The six countries also adopted two major documents, namely the Five-Year Action Plan (2018-2022) and the Phnom Penh Declaration at this year's meeting.

In the declaration, the leaders stressed the vision and importance of the LMC in contributing to the socio-economic development of sub-regional countries and enhancing the well-being of their peoples, narrowing the development gap among countries, supporting the ASEAN Community building as well as advancing South-South cooperation and enhancing the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The meeting, co-chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and the Chinese premier, also released the second batch of cooperative projects and reports of the six Joint Working Groups on the key priority areas.

Initiated by China in 2014, the framework spans connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources management, and agriculture and poverty reduction, benefiting dozens of millions of people living on the waterway.

The first LMC leaders' meeting was held in Sanya of China's Hainan Province in March 2016, when the goal of building a community of shared future of peace and prosperity for the LMC countries was endorsed.

The Lancang River originates on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwest China. It is called the Mekong River as it flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the sea.

Indian Ocean Conference 2017 Begins in Colombo, Sri Lanka to Promote, Peace, Progress, Prosperity in Indian Ocean Region

Colombo, Aug 31:  A two-day Indian Ocean Conference 2017 began on Thursday in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, to promote peace, progress, prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region, a strategic source for Maritime trade route which handles 40% of the world's offshore oil production.  High-level delegates, officials, experts and government representatives including India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Sri Lankan prime minister and president are among key speakers at the conference being held to promote peace, progress and prosperity in the Indian Ocean, the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions.

The IOC 2017 began at Temple Trees, the official residence of the Sri Lankan PM,  and is being jointly hosted by the India Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank, in collaboration with RSIS, Singapore, and NIFS, Colombo — both research and study centers, the foundation said in a statement.

According to officials of event, speakers from 25 countries and delegates from around 35 countries are expected to attend the event.

"We will be very pleased to have the presence of the Indian foreign minister," Sri Lankan foreign Minister Thilak Marapona said. 

"The conference will be all about what is going to happen in the Indian Ocean region in the future. We want to develop the Indian Ocean into an area where peace will prevail and all countries will benefit," the minister said.

Sri Lanka is expected to discuss strategies of combating drug smuggling in the two-day conference, Mr Marapona said.

According to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry officials, Indian Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar is also expected to attend the conference.

Peace, progress and prosperity will be theme at the event, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake said.

"For Sri Lanka drugs is one of the main concerns. Sri Lanka is a transit point for drug dealing," Mr Ratnayake said. "We hope to carry forward this dialogue," he said. Mr Ratnayake also said Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is the director of the India Foundation, is also expected to attend the conference.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will deliver the valedictory address.

There will be ministerial representation from Bangladesh, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Vietnam and the conference will also be attended by senior officials from the USA, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Germany, Kenya, South Korea and Afghanistan among others, according IOC2017 officails.

A special plenary will have speeches from Krishna Bahadur Mahara, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Nepal, Tofail Ahmed, minister for commerce of Bangladesh, Tilak Marapana, minister of foreign affairs, Sri Lanka and Iwao Horii, parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, Japan.

The conference will also see two plenary sessions on peace and one each on progress and prosperity.

More than 80 percent of the world’s seaborne trade in oil transits through Indian Ocean which provides major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and the Americas. It carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oil fields of the Persian Gulf and Indonesia. Large reserves of hydrocarbons are being tapped in the offshore areas of Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, and Western Australia.

Experts says beach sands rich in heavy minerals, and offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, Pakistan, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Chinese companies have made investments in several Indian Ocean ports, including Gwadar, Hambantota, Colombo and Sonadia.

By Muhammad Arif, Source: Web Desk

Turkey to Deepen Trade Ties with Asian Countries Including Vietnam: PM

Hanoi, Aug. 24: Turkey will deepen its trade ties with Asian countries including Vietnam, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Aug. 24, during his speech at the Vietnam-Turkey Business Forum in Hanoi. “Our country will maintain its strategy to increase its trade and economic effectiveness in the Far East, mainly in the Asian market,” the Turkish premier stated, according to state media report.

Yıldırım noted that the ratification process of the agreement on reciprocal promotion and protection of investments, as well as prevention of double taxation, signed in 2014 with Vietnam, was finalized.

“Turkish investors contribute to Vietnam’s economy by investing over $700 million,” he underlined.

The premier said works for signing a free trade agreement between the two countries have accelerated.    

“Cooperating with a country that has high strategic importance like Vietnam and taking this cooperation further are among our priorities,” he added.

Yıldırım noted that Turkey and Vietnam are countries which have a total of $683 billion in trade volume and over $1 trillion in national income with their total population reaching 173 million in 2016.

The trade volume between Turkey and Vietnam stands below $2 billion and it is not in proportion to the potential of the two countries’ population, he stated.

“We aim to increase bilateral trade to at least $4 billion by 2020 in the first stage,” Yıldırım said.  
   
The prime minister noted Turkey’s exports to Vietnam advanced by 16 percent in the first half of 2017, while Vietnam’s exports to Turkey increased by 33 percent in the same period.

“Although trade balance is not in favor of Turkey, it will be achieved by increasing and diversifying trade,” he added.

While ramping up efforts to help mediate between Myanmar's government and rebel groups, China needs and will most likely be willing to step up investment in the country to promote local economic development, which is a cornerstone of social stability and could thus offer support to Myanmar's peace process.

Economic and political issues are always two sides of the same coin. Myanmar urgently needs to maintain steady and relatively rapid economic growth, ensuring that each interest group can get more benefit from social stability, which will create a good atmosphere for the parties in the conflict to make concessions.

Chinese Investment in Myanmar

As a key strategic location connecting China and India, Myanmar is reportedly ramping up efforts to make itself a new offshore trading hub in Asia. The move reflects Myanmar's desire to integrate itself into the Asian industrial chain in a bid to rely more on foreign businesses to revitalize the economy, especially at a time when inbound investment into the country is slowing.

As Myanmar's largest trade partner and largest source of investment, China is crucial for Myanmar's external-policy strategy. India is going all out to make the visit by Myanmar's military chief a resounding success following tensions on the border between India and China, but there is no reason for China to feel any anxiety. Myanmar is unlikely to do a stupid thing like supporting India's stand on the tensions in the border area, as that would risk cutting its economic ties with China. There is tremendous potential for further economic and trade cooperation between China and Myanmar. Along with the development and promotion of the Belt and Road initiative, China has been stepping up investment into Myanmar's infrastructure sector. China should continue efforts to improve infrastructure in Myanmar to promote regional economic integration and open up new trade routes toward South Asia.

Chinese Investment in Myanmar

In addition to Myanmar, China should keep a close eye on economic cooperation with some South Asian countries like Bangladesh to promote economic integration. This could promote the formation of a string of active economic development zones surrounding India, which would not be a bad thing if it could place pressure on New Delhi to deepen its economic cooperation with neighboring countries. Hopefully India could make a greater contribution to improving infrastructure in Myanmar under the framework of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. This would help to connect the markets in India, China and Southeast Asia, the world's three most active economic regions.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/11

Kazakhstan Railways Temir Zholy, Japan’s Nippon Express Sign Deal for Rail Cargo along Eurasian Continent through Kazakhstan

Astana, Aug.30:  Kazakhstan national railway company Temir Zholy has signed an agreement with Japanese logistics company Nippon Express to strengthen cooperation for the movement of containers through Kazakhstan as a way of reaching the countries of Eurasia, local media reported. The agreement in this came during a meeting of Vice President for Development of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (Kazakh Railways), Arman Sultanov with the chairman of the board of the international transport and logistics company Nippon Express, Sugiyama Tatsuo.

The meeting was held in Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana on August 15, 2017.

The two sides discussed the organization of container rail transport between the countries of the Eurasian continent through the territory of Kazakhstan.

According to the Vice-President of Kazakhstan Railways, a full range of services for the transport  of container trains is provided on the territory of Kazakhstan in the shortest possible time.

Vice president Arman Sultanov in his remarks said: “We can produce transshipment, processing and handling of goods on the dry port of the SEZ Khorgos – Eastern Gates, which significantly reduces the time of border operations and increase the speed of container trains.”

Experts assay the rail cooperation agreement will help to increase the overland flow of container traffic between the Japan / South Korea region and Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe.

China has made heavy investment throughout Eurasia under the Belt And Road Initiative to boost connectivity in the Eurasian continent.

European Union Approves a 100 million Euro Support Package for Afghanistan to Advance Development

Kabul, Aug.22:The European Union has approved a 100 million euro package to support Afghanistan in carrying out reforms, reported 1TVNews. More particularly, the assistance is expected is to improve Afghanistan development policies, maintain macroeconomic stability, advance sound public financial management and strengthen state budget transparency. The funding is part of a contract signed between Afghanistan and EU during the Brussels conference last year.

The decision comes following a “positive” assessment on progress in reform in the mentioned areas over the last 12 months, EU said in a statement.

“The approval of this allocation means that Afghanistan has been making significant progress in crucial areas such as public policy, macroeconomic, financial management and budget transparency and oversight,” said Eklil Hakimi, Afghanistan’s minister of finance.

“We welcome conditionality-based mechanism, such as the State-Building Contract, they give the Government of Afghanistan flexibility and fiscal space to respond quickly to our countries evolving development priorities and reaffirm our mutual commitments to see a prosperous, stable and self-reliant Afghanistan.”

Franz-Micahel Melbin, the EU’s envoy to Afghanistan, said that the contract makes a direct contribution to the national budget and provides Afghanistan with substantial financial resources and flexibility to allocate these where they are most needed.

“The purpose is to improve services to the population, boost economic growth and reduce poverty, at a time when Afghanistan continues to face major security, economic and political challenges,” he said.

China Construction Third Engineering Bureau won a 41-billion ruble (about 2.6 billion RMB) contract to engineer, procure, and construct the Allama Iqbal International Airport.

It will be Pakistan’s largest airport after reconstruction, and local infrastructure will be improved too. It is the largest project that the Third Engineering Bureau has undertaken overseas, marking another important achievement in Belt and Road construction.

Allam Iqbal International Airport

It is not the first time that the Third Engineering Bureau has won a bid in Pakistan. Major projects, including the Karachi-Lahore Expressway between Sukker and Multan, Arfa Software Technology Park, and The Centaurus Hotel, are all projects of the Bureau. 

Source by: en.people.cn

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