During his meeting with Lao PM Thoongsing Thammavong on the sidelines of the 18th ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Dung said the decision to halt the project reflected the cooperation and deep consideration that Laos has given to Vietnam’s proposal.

Vietnam wants to work with Laos and other Mekong countries, including the two upstream countries China and Myanmar, in using the river in a sustainable manner that serves the interest of each nation and the whole region, Dung said.

At the meeting, the two leaders also reviewed the success of the 33rd session of the Vietnam-Laos Joint Government Committee in April, agreeing to further boost bilateral relations.

During another meeting with Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, also on Saturday, both sides promised to promote cooperation, especially in business, trade and investment. They also discussed the management and sustainable use of Mekong River resources.

ASEAN summit

Senior officials of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are attending a leadership summit in Jakarta during the weekend. Indonesia chairs the regional bloc this year.

In his welcome speech at the summit on Saturday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the region is now facing complex food and energy issues.

“The world population is expected to grow fast from seven billion and will reach nine billion by 2045. Nations on this earth will face a competitive situation for the scarce resources of daily needs,” the president said in a statement published on the ASEAN website.

“History shows that the rise of food and energy prices usually cause and has always caused an increase in the number of people living in poverty,” he said.

“We cannot face these challenges merely at the national level, but (must) instead produce solutions that are more comprehensive, and cooperation that is more intense amongst countries in the Southeast Asian region,” he said.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Thanh Nien - May 8, 2011