Vietnamese Premier: Global Economic Turmoil will Impact Mekong Region

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Nov. 7 – Speaking at the opening of a regional summit, Vietnam's premier said that the ongoing global economic slowdown would not exclude Southeast Asia's Mekong river countries.

The premiers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam met in Hanoi for the fourth summit of the CLMV group. Thailand's new prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, also attended the summit.

Mr. Somchai said that he wanted to talk about the effects of high food prices with the country's regional neighbors, in addition to the border issues with Myanmar.

"During my trip to Vietnam I will take the opportunity to raise the issue of rice prices with the Vietnamese prime minister, and with the Myanmar prime minister I will bring up the issues of the border and drugs," Somchai told the AFP.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was quoted as saying by AFP that the group and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should improve cooperation to buffer the effects of the credit crisis and maintain the fight against poverty.

"With their low and limited levels of development, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are the most vulnerable countries to negative upheavals in the regional and world economy," said Dung.

Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein also said that the financial crisis "may lead to a decline in development assistance from our development partners" and added the region should ask the assistance of India, China and Japan.

The members of the CLMV group are among Southeast Asia's poorest countries and is working towards building wealth through regional cooperation and trade with China.