China to offer billions in new loans to South-east Asia

Leaders from China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam at the Lancang-Mekong cooperation leaders' meeting in Sanya, China on March 23, 2016.
Leaders from China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam at the Lancang-Mekong cooperation leaders' meeting in Sanya, China on March 23, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China will offer 10 billion yuan ($1.54 billion) in preferential loans and a $10 billion (S$2.1 billion) credit line to five countries along the Mekong River in South-east Asia, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday (March 23), state news agency Xinhua reported.

He made the comments at a summit with leaders from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in the southern Chinese resort town of Sanya on Hainan island.

The summit is the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders' meeting, which kicked off on Wednesday morning. 

Li attended, as well as Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Vice President of Myanmar Sai Mauk Kham, and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.

The foreign ministers of China and Thailand also met on Tuesday evening in Sanya.

China was ready to work with all five countries to make the LMC mechanism a model of south-south cooperation, a platform of unity and cooperation, and a showcase of the mutual support between neighboring countries, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said, during his meeting with Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai.