Summit of Mekong River countries kicks off
(dpa) - A summit of the six countries connected by the Mekong River kicked off Sunday in land-locked Laos, state media reports said.
The 3rd Summit of Greater Mekong Subregion countries - Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - was officially launched Sunday morning in Vientiane, Radio Laos reported in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok.
Khamthan Suthienamtha, secretary general of the Youth Union of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, opened the meeting with the prediction that the summit would help "meet the strategic targets of the younger generation in all six countries."
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived Saturday to attend the summit and met with Lao President Choummaly Saygnasone Sunday morning to discuss bilateral relations.
China has become a leading aid donor to Laos in recent years. Chinese companies have become major investors, especially in rubber plantations and hydroelectricity projects, in the land-locked communist country of less than 6 million people but a land mass equal to half of France.
The summit co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank is expected to mark the official opening of a 1,800-kilometre road from Kunming, in China, to Thailand's capital Bangkok.
Besides Wen, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Myanmar Premier General Thein arrived in Vientiane Saturday to attend the summit, which will also draw the premiers of Thailand and Vietnam.
The bloc was established in 1992 to promote economic and social development, irrigation and cooperation within the six countries linked by the 4,200-kilometre Mekong River.