Sunday, 30 March 2008

Premier arrives for Mekong summit

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C) arrives in Vientiane, capital of Laos, March 29, 2008. Wen started his working visit to Laos on Saturday evening by the invitation of Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, and he is also scheduled to attend the 3rd Summit of the Great Mekong Subregion countries in Vientiane. [Xinhua]


VIENTIANE -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived here on Saturday evening, starting his working visit to Laos.

Wen is also scheduled to attend the 3rd Summit of the Great Mekong Subregion countries -- China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar -- to be convened in this Laos capital city on Monday.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wen, invited by Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, will meet with Lao President Choummaly Saygnasone and hold talks with his Lao counterpart Bouasone on future bilateral cooperation.

Wen and Bouasone are scheduled to attend the signing ceremony of cooperation agreement in the sectors of economy, technology, coal and e-governance.

After his working visit to Laos, Wen will join with leaders from the other five GMS members as well as representatives from the Asian Development Bank at the summit and attend the opening ceremony of a 1,800-km international road from China's Kunming city to Thailand's Bangkok.

The GMS, established in 1992, promotes economic and social development, irrigation and cooperation within the six Mekong countries.

About 320 million people live within the GMS region, and their common link, the Mekong River, winds its way for 4,200 km. The great majority of these people live in rural areas where they lead subsistence or semi-subsistence agricultural lifestyles.

The area boasts abundant natural resources and huge development potential. With a long history of cultural and economic exchanges among the nations, the area has formed peculiar cultural and economic characteristics based on different folk customs and natural landscapes of the six nations sharing the river.

The first GMS Summit was held in Cambodia's Phnom Penh in 2002,and the second in southwest China's Kunming in 2005.

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