News / Asia

Japanese Prime Minister Ends Southeast Asia Visit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, poses with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra for photographers at the end of a news conference at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, January 17, 2013.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, poses with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra for photographers at the end of a news conference at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, January 17, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Ron Corben
— Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended a three-nation tour of South East Asia this week aimed at building closer ties through increased investment and development. In Bangkok, Abe discussed joint cooperation in development projects in Burma.

This was the first visit to Thailand in over a decade by a Japanese leader. At a joint appearance with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Abe called on Thailand to take a leading role in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Japanese prime minister said there are major strategic changes under way in Asia and the Pacific region, and he looked to cooperation with Thailand to solve problems with the support of ASEAN integration.
 
Japan is Thailand’s largest trading partner with foreign direct investment of around $10 billion focused on automotive, computer and information technology manufacturing.
 
Japanese businesses had to reinvest billions of dollars into Thailand after major industry sectors were hit by the 2011 floods.
 
Optimism

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra spoke of her optimism over Japan’s economic expansion as well as new liberalized bilateral trade that should allow more Thai agricultural exports.
 
Yingluck said Japan expressed interest in development of Thai transport and flood prevention infrastructure  - including a high speed train as well as joint cooperation with Burma to develop the Dawei industrial region.
 
Thailand is looking to Japan as a key source of funds for a project that was first planned almost a decade ago when the prime minister's brother, deposed leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, was in power.
 
Sihasak Phuangketkeow, permanent secretary for the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says Japan’s renewed engagement with the 10-member ASEAN is important.
 
“That fact that [Mr. Abe] chose three ASEAN including Thailand I think shows the importance Japan attaches to ASEAN as a whole," he said. "But is also comes at a time where I think you know we wish to see this region enjoying progress and prosperity, so Japan’s role is very important to the economic development of the region.”
 
Japanese officials say a strengthening of ties with ASEAN is based on what they termed a “changing strategic environment” in the region with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia seen as a “growth center” in the global economy.
 
Closer partnerships


In meetings with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and later Friday with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Abe covered issues of closer partnerships in security and political areas.  
 
He cut his visit to Jakarta short Friday to return to Japan to deal with the hostage crisis involving some Japanese nationals in Algeria.
 
Analysts say Abe's foreign policy strategy is geared towards offsetting growing tensions with China, especially over conflicts in the East China Sea where the two countries are in dispute over a region seen as potentially rich in oil and gas.
 
China also has conflicts in the South China Sea where Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia challenge China’s claim over the region, also potentially rich in energy reserves.
 
Abe’s trip to the region drew harsh commentaries in Chinese state-backed media, where it is seen as part of a strategy to contain China.  The official China Daily in a report Friday called Abe’s diplomatic policy to strengthen ties with ASEAN as a “doctrine that will escalate regional tensions.”
 
Japan’s trade with China has fallen, since the East China Sea dispute erupted, due to boycotts and nationalist protests in China to Japanese products leading Japan’s.
 
Thai officials said Japan hopes Thailand, as the country coordinating ASEAN-China relations in the near term, will be able to work towards a settlement in the disputed claims in the South China Sea.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid