Mekong region premiers meeting in Laos have pledged to strengthen transport, power and telecom links between their six countries, saying closer integration will boost trade and development. The prime ministers of China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos vowed to ?deepen our economic cooperation and integration efforts,? at their Vientiane summit with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Meanwhile, Laos inaugurated a new highway April 1 that will allow a north-south land route connecting Southeast Asia and China to operate year-round, the ADB said. The opening of Route 3 fills in the last stretch of road for what is supposed to be an all-weather route that at its full length connects Singapore to Beijing. (AFP, WSJ)

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