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Japan Announces $7 Billion Plan to Develop Mekong Region

FILE - A Laotian fisherman casts his net in the Mekong river in Luang Prabang.

Japan's foreign minister has announced a multi-billion dollar initiative to promote development in the Mekong region, which encompasses parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand through which the river flows.

In a speech at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on Monday, Fumio Kishida affirmed the importance of Southeast Asia's economic prosperity to Japan. He pledged 750 billion yen ($7 billion) in funding during the next three years to support development and growth in the region.

Kishida also renewed his call for the establishment of a code of conduct in the South China Sea and that prosperity can only achieved if there is peace and stability in the region.

The visit to Thailand is part of his regional tour that includes stops in China, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.