Mapping Mekong Cooperation Complementarities and Policy Implications

Cambodia’s ultimate goal is peace and prosperity. The best way to achieve this goal is to craft a foreign policy that places sustainable economic development at its core. In such spirit, Cambodia aligns our development strategies to take advantage of various flagship initiatives. At the sub-regional level, various Mekong cooperation mechanisms are complementary to Cambodia’s economic diplomacy as well as efforts to bridge development gap, and pursue an inclusive and fully integrated ASEAN Economic Community.

There are 8 Mekong cooperation frameworks. Cambodia always seeks to capitalize from all the Mekong sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, namely 1) Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (India), 2) Mekong-Japan Cooperation, 3) Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation, 4) Lower Mekong Initiatives-LMI (the United States), 5) Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (People’s Republic of China), 6) Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), 7) Mekong River Commission (MRC) and 8) the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS).

Cambodia regards all Mekong partners as the key strategic and economic partners in our diversification strategy. More than being a participant, Cambodia is also playing a leading role in contributing to agenda-setting of various Mekong platforms as host and chair of the high-level meetings. For instance, in January 2018, Cambodia chaired the 2nd MLC Leaders’ Meeting in Phnom Penh and in April of the same year, Cambodia hosted the 3rd Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit in Siem Reap. Cambodia and Thailand successfully co-chaired with the United States at the First LMI Policy Dialogue in April this year in Bangkok, and Cambodia led the discussion with the US on the strengthening of STEM education in the region. Coming in the pipeline, Cambodia will chair the 9th ACMECS Summit and 7th GMS Summit in 2020.

Mr Sim Vireak is Strategic Advisor to the Asian Vision Institute

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