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.
    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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora