1. What are the achievements that GMS countries have obtained?
Culture of peace and cooperation has been developed and nurtured in the GMS region where it used to experience foreign intervention and colony for quite a long time. Economic cooperation and integration efforts have produced some results especially in hard infrastructure and people connectivity. However, intra-GMS trade and investment is still very low due to the economic characteristics and reality of the GMS countries. Agriculture and labor intensive industries with export oriented economy are the economic nature of the sub-region.
Infrastructure is the most visible achievement while trade, investment and tourism industry are developing with promising but yet slow pace.
It is a positive step towards strengthen security cooperation between China and the Mekong countries. It can be the foundation to expand security cooperation between China and all the Mekong countries including Cambodia and Vietnam. Cambodia and Vietnam should join such security patrol cooperation in the coming years.
Drug and human trafficking remain a key non-traditional security challenge for regional leaders. Humanitarian relief and disaster management and food security should be further emphasized.
So far, the Mekong River Commission has some program and cooperation mechanism to cope with water related disaster. But the lack of capacity, human resource, and coordination mechanism restraint these countries from effectively coping with the disaster. So, it requires more training and capacity building program and projects for the key stakeholders. Best practices can be shared and systematized into regional tool kit coping with disaster.
Regarding transportation, we need to connect the river ports in the GMS more effectively. Freedom of water transportation needs to be strengthened. Sub-regional code of conduct on the Mekong River can be established.