September 9, 2021, at 0900hrs, at Bhakdi Bodin Building, Government House, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha attended and delivered a statement at the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion Summit, co-hosted by the Kingdom of Cambodia and Asian Development Bank (ADB) via a video conference under the overarching theme “GMS: Renewed Strength to Face the Challenges of the New Decade”.
Also attending and delivering a statement were leaders of the Kingdom of Cambodia, People’s Republic of China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the ADB president.
Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana disclosed gist of his statement as follows:
The Prime Minister expressed pleasure to attend the meeting, and commended the responses of all member countries against the COVID-19 pandemic through the integrated effort of all sectors for comprehensive rehabilitation and better livelihood of the GMS citizens. The meeting would be a good opportunity for the member countries to review and assessed the progress, and promote constructive cooperation under the GMS framework. The Prime Minister emphasized the need to upgrade cooperation in order to build upon the success of the 3Cs strategy which is the key to GMS cooperation:
1) Connectivity: Expediting infrastructure development to promote seamless transport connectivity within the subregion and to other regions. Thailand strives to develop transport network to cover all regions of the country, and to link the cities with border special development zones under the Motorways-Rail Map (MR-Map) interprovincial network and the southern land bridge megaproject, which GMS could use as a new export and import channel. The connectivity with the IMT-GT member countries could also built upon. Thailand is also ready to connect its high-speed railroad with the Laos-China Railway to enhance goods movement and expand value chain of the sub-region. The country also provides support for the development of infrastructure network in the neighboring countries, such as the construction of the 5th and 6th Thai–Lao Friendship Bridges and Thailand-Cambodia Friendship Bridge linking Thailand’s Ban Nong Ian and. Cambodia’s Stung Bot, in a bid to promote genuine seamless connectivity in the GMS.
Regulatory connectivity is also an important part to support physical connectivity. The Prime Minister urged GMS member countries and ADB to push forward concrete implementation of the Cross Border Transport Agreement (CBTA), and negotiation for the harmonization of rules and regulations to facilitate movement of trucks and goods across borders.
2) Competitiveness: Creating the atmosphere conducive to GMS competitiveness enhancement. Thailand places importance to remedy provision in parallel with MSMEs capacity enhancement and promotion of the e-commerce. The country also strives to make use of international trade agreements, while promoting community empowerment, which is the grassroots economy’s key driving force, in order to ensure equitable distribution of income. The development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) engenders investment in innovations and high technology under the Thailand 4.0 policy. Promotion of regional economic activities through the development of special economic zones along the border areas is also prioritized in a bid to increase linkage of the intra and inter subregional value chains.
3)Community: Building an inclusive and sustainable GMS community with shared future, especially promotion of the sub-region’s immunity against plagues or newly emerging diseases. Thailand has developed an Ad-hoc Master Plan under the National Strategy in response to COVID-19 situations (2021-2022), which should complement implementations under the GMS sub-regional framework. The country also endorses public health cooperation focusing on holistic healthcare and wellness, and forging of border cooperation to guarantee safe GMS through exchange of knowledge, increase of surveillance, and disease prevention at the regional level.
The Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy has been implemented as a national agenda to attain the SDG 2030.
The Prime Minister thanked ADB and other development partners, business and people sectors, for their continued engagement in the GMS development, and expressed hope for the vision to action of the outcome of this meeting in order to bring about GMS sub-regional prosperity, and sustainability that leaves no one behind.
At the 7th GMS Summit, 3 documents were endorsed, namely, 1) the 7th Joint Declaration of the 6 Leaders of the six Greater Mekong Subregional countries; 2) Draft strategic framework for economic cooperation in the Greater Mekong Subregion, B.E. 2030; and 3) Draft rehabilitation and response plan against the impact of COVID-19 pandemic (2021-2023)