Joint Press Statement
Quadripartite Ministerial Meeting on the Utilization of the Second Thai-Lao Mekong Bridge (Mukdahan-Savannakhet) and the Development of Areas along the Eastern Part of the East-West Economic Corridor
November 22, 2001, Mukdahan
1. H.E. Mr. Somsavar Lengsavad, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, H.E. Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Dy Nien, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, along with H.E. Mr. Taimei Yamaguchi, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, met in Mukdahan, Thailand, on 22 November 2001 under the chairmanship of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
2. The purpose of the meeting is to reaffirm the political will and commitment to develop and utilize the Second Thai-Lao Mekong Bridge and the areas along the eastern part of the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), with the aim of enhancing the synergy and complementarities for the shared prosperity of the Sub-region and its peoples. The eastern segment of the EWEC encompasses Route 9 in the Lao PDR and Viet Nam, and Highway 1 in Viet Nam, linking areas starting from Khon Kaen through Mukdahan, extending to Savannakhet, and ending in Da Nang.
3. The Meeting welcomed the positive progress made towards the construction of the Second Thai-Lao Mekong Bridge, Route 9 and Highway 1 leading to Da Nang Deep-Sea Port. It is expected that the Laotian section of the EWEC will be completed by 2003, the Vietnamese section by 2004, and the Bridge by 2005.
4. The Ministers had extensive exchanges of views and agreed to pursue and attach priorities to the following:
- Promote trade and investment opportunities in economic border zone in Lao Bao as we3ll as establish special economic zones in Mukdahan and Savannakhet, which could serve as a co-production base. Such zones could be extended to other parts of the areas along Route 9. In furtherance thereof, the Meeting also called for a joint feasibility study on this matter.
- Reaffirm commitments among the three countries to facilitate trade, investment, tourism, transit of goods and peoples across borders, by expediting the setting up of a single stop inspection.
- Promote overland tourism, focusing on cultural- and eco-tourism, particularly through joint campaign entitled "Three Countries One Destination", and the development of tourism facilities and infrastructure.
- Strengthen capacity building related to all eight sectors of development, i.e. transportation, telecommunication, tourism, trade, investment, human resource, energy, and environment.
- Encourage active participation of international organizations, financial institutions, and other donor countries for additional cooperation and support.
- Engage the public and private sectors at both national and international levels in the development of areas along Route 9.
- Encourage the implementation of priority projects identified under the Pre-Investment Study for the eastern part of the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), expected to be adopted at the upcoming 10th GMS Ministerial Conference in Yangon, Myanmar. In this connection, the Ministers welcomed the forthcoming accession of Cambodia to the Agreement on the Facilitation of Cross-Border Transportation of Goods and Peoples among Thailand, the Lao PDR, and Viet Nam.
- Express hope that the road linkage could be extended to Myanmar in the near future, so that the plan for a complete East-West Economic Corridor can be realized.
5. To that end, the Ministers tasked senior officials including representatives from the three provinces of Mukdahan, Savannakhet, and Da Nang to meet annually to follow up on the activities and report to their respective Ministers.
6. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam expressed sincere appreciation to the Government of Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for their active involvements as well as their financial and technical contributions to the development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, in particular the development of East-West Economic Corridor.
7. The Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan welcomed and highly valued the ownership taken by the Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam to hold this meeting. Having played a major role in promoting Mekong Sub-regional Development, including the development of East-West Economic Corridor, Japan reaffirmed to the meeting its intention to continue playing an active role in this development initiative.
8. Arrangements are also made for the Ministers to continue their discussions as well as inspect the construction sites of the Bridge at both Mukdahan and Savannakhet, and the Da Nang deep-sea port on the same day.
Back to Index