12 SEP 2020 - Source: Vietnam Times

The US has pledged to provide nearly US$153.6 million in assistance to several projects of the Mekong countries, official said.

The 1st Mekong-US Partnership Ministerial Meeting was held online on September 11, attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and US Deputy Secretary Stephen Biegun, as well as foreign affairs ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and the ASEAN Secretary-General, VNA reported.

Speaking at the meeting, US pledged to provide nearly US$153,6 million in assistance to several projects of the Mekong countries, VN Express cited. The money includes US$55 million for transboundary crime combat and US$1.8 million for the Mekong River Commission to strengthen water resource data sharing in support of the policymaking process, according to Stephen Biegun.

Over the last 10 years, U.S. agencies have offered more than $3.5 billion in assistance to the Mekong region that comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The participants to the meeting also officially announced the Mekong-US Partnership (MUSP) from decade-long cooperation under the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), which was initiated by the US in 2009, reported by VGP. The new partnership framework will lay the foundation for promoting the potentials of the bilateral ties, thus making effective contributions to sustainable development and prosperity in the future.

The conference officially announced the upgrade of cooperation to the Mekong - US Partnership. (Photo: VN Express)

The Mekong River countries and the US have cooperated closely in the fields of sustainable water management, environmental protection, disaster response, health, education, and regional connectivity, according to VGP.

Regarding future cooperation orientations, the participants agreed that the Mekong countries and the US should work toward promoting peace, stability, and prosperity, supporting the implementation of the 2030 sustainable development goal and the 2025 ASEAN Community Vision.

The participants agreed that the MUSP should focus on four cooperation areas: (i) economic connectivity, (ii) sustainable management of water and natural resources and environmental protection, (iii) non-traditional security, (iv) and human resources development.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy PM, FM Minh affirmed Viet Nam's commitment to fostering cooperation between the Mekong countries and the US, expressing his belief that the MUSP would further contribute to sustainable development and narrowing develop gap in the region.