'Chinese economy grew 'around 6.9%' in 2017'

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Hailing the second LMC leaders' meeting as fruitful, Li said China expects to maintain close coordination with Cambodia within the frameworks of LMC as well as China-ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) cooperation and to contribute to regional development and prosperity. Governments build dams to harness its hydropower and produce electricity.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged Thursday to build a community of shared future with Cambodia that is of strategic significance.

The MLC is a sub-regional cooperation mechanism that was jointly established in 2016 by six countries along the Mekong River, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

He has also said that he will continue to welcome aid from China, which is poised to overtake the U.S.as the world's top foreign donor, and which is now Cambodia's largest global aid provider.

China eyes stronger ties with the other five countries along the Lancang-Mekong river, pledging new loans, medical aids and scholarships to its neighbors.

They agreed to consider water resource cooperation as a high priority area, increase cooperation in managing and using water resources sustainably through such activities as policy dialogue, sharing information and hydrological data, carrying out joint research and pilot projects relating to water resources of the Mekong-Lancang River, and considering the establishment of a hotline for emergency situations. "They are really committed and deliver what they have said or promised".

The main reason why China performed well previous year was because it refrained from "flooding" the economy with stimulus while pushing ahead with supply-side reforms and cultivating new sources of momentum, Li said.

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With control over the headwaters of the river - known in China as the Lancang - Beijing can dam its section while the impacts are felt downstream.

The stated goal of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation forum, created by China in 2015, is to promote sustainable development and boost the quality of life for the millions of people living in the Mekong subregion.

The world's 12th-longest river, the Mekong runs almost 5,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau and down into mainland Southeast Asia before emptying into the South China Sea in Vietnam.

The river is important to Southeast Asia, where an estimated 60 million people rely on the river and its tributaries for food, water and transport. The basin is home to 1,200-1,700 fish species, making it the most diverse basin after the Amazon and Congo. But it is also a potential source of tension due to an increasing number of hydroelectric projects and concerns of ecological damage.

China is the driving force behind numerous projects, having already built eight dams on the river since the 1990s and is now building or planning more than a dozen more.

Beijing has already interrupted the Mekong's upper reaches with six dams, and is investing in more than half of the 11 dams planned further south, according to the non-profit group International Rivers. Environmentalists have warned this could have dire consequences on the ecosystem.

They also pledged to work together to handle the issue of legal status of Cambodians of Vietnamese descent in Cambodia in line with Cambodia's law and the spirit of the bilateral friendly neighbourliness.

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