SANYA, Hainan, March 23 (Xinhua) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met respectively with leaders from countries along the Mekong River on the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) and each country's bilateral ties with China.
The leaders, including Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Myanmar Vice President Sai Mauk Kham, and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, were here for the first LMC leaders' meeting held in Sanya of southern China's Hainan Province on Wednesday.
--MEETING THAI PRIME MINISTER
Li voiced hope that the two countries could well implement the bilateral railway project under the principle of reciprocity, to promote the economic and people-to-people exchanges among countries along the railway and the regional interconnectivity.
China and Thailand launched the project of building a railway linking capital city Bangkok with the northeastern city of Nong Khai near Laos last December.
The 845-km railway, as Thailand's first standard-gauge double-track railway line, came after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between China and Thailand on railway cooperation on December 2014. The railway is also part of the backbone of a trans-Asia rail transportation system.
Prayut pledged to actively press ahead the railway cooperation, as well as cooperation in other fields such as trade, investment and tourism.
Calling China one of the best cooperation partners of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Prayut also hailed the LMC mechanism as it will benefit all countries along the river.
-- MEETING CAMBODIAN PRIME MINISTER
Saying China and Cambodia are "trust worthy good friends", Li called on the two countries to maintain high level communication, deepen cooperation in all areas to push forward their comprehensive strategic ties. Li also vowed continuous support for Cambodia's economic and social development, saying the government will encourage companies to increase investment in Cambodia.
He said the two countries should connect development strategies, promote cooperation on production capacity and investment, strengthen cooperation in such areas as trade, agricultural products processing, infrastructure construction and protection of cultural relics.
Hun Sen, expressing satisfaction for the development of the bilateral ties, thanked China for assistance to Cambodia's development and welcomed Chinese companies to increase investment in Cambodia's infrastructure construction and agriculture.
-- MEETING LAO PRIME MINISTER
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the China-Laos relations, as well as the 25th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship. Laos will hold this year's rotating ASEAN chairmanship.
Li said China will make concerted efforts to support the chairmanship of Laos, and hopes the country could actively participate in the construction of LMC mechanism.
He said China was ready to maintain exchanges of all levels with Laos and expand the bilateral cooperation in all areas, especially the big projects of railway and hydropower to better benefit the two peoples.
Thongsing pledged to implement the consensus reached in the first LMC leaders' meeting and strengthen the bilateral cooperation. He said Laos will work with China to hold activities marking the 55th anniversary of ties.
-- MEETING MYANMAR VICE PRESIDENT
Sai Mauk Kham attended the first LMC leaders' meeting on behalf of Myanmar President U Thein Sein, and conveyed the greetings of U Thein Sein to the Chinese leaders.
Li said China respects the right of the Myanmar people to choose their own development path according to the country's situation. China will conduct reciprocal cooperation with Myanmar and jointly promote a sustained and healthy development of the bilateral ties whatever changes happened in Myanmar's domestic situation.
The premier called on the two countries to strengthen cooperation in areas including infrastructure construction, interconnectivity and industrial parks, increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and maintain the peace and stability in the bordering areas with joint efforts.
Sai Mauk Kham said Myanmar attaches high importance to relations with China. Myanmar will continue to engage in friendly cooperation with China though it is facing transfer of government.
He said Myanmar was ready to work with China to push forward bilateral cooperation on big projects of cross-border industrial parks, road construction and water conservancy.
-- MEETING VIETNAMESE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
Pham Binh Minh, who was here on behalf of the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, also conveyed Dung's greetings to the Chinese leaders.
Li hailed the "positive momentum" in the development of the China-Vietnam relations since last year, as well as the progress achieved by the two countries in simultaneously advancing maritime, on-shore and financial cooperation.
He said as long as China and Vietnam make concerted efforts to maintain high-level visits, strengthen pragmatic cooperation, control differences through consultation, and promote friendship between the two peoples, the bilateral relationship is facing a bright prospect.
Minh echoed Li saying relationship with China has always been a priority of Vietnam's diplomacy. Vietnam stood ready to maintain close high level contacts, connect their development strategies, advance reciprocal cooperation, properly handle the disputes to further push forward the bilateral ties.
The leaders will also attend the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia scheduled on Thursday morning. Li will deliver a keynote speech at the ceremony.