Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. (Source: gettyimages.se)
Bangkok (VNA) – Japan has considered ASEAN an important partner, pledging to become the bloc’s irreplaceable partner in efforts of salvaging “diversification” in politics, economy, socio-culture and strengthening “connectivity” in the region.

The statement was made by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during his visit to Thailand on May 2. He also disclosed Tokyo’s priorities in collaborating with the ASEAN member states in the near future.

The diplomat accentuated the establishment of the ASEAN Community in late 2015 as a milestone in the region’s development history while reiterating Japan’s full support for the bloc’s integration.

The Japanese official also announced a seven billion USD initiative in the next three years to promote growth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, which encompasses parts of Cambodia , Myanmar , Laos , Thailand and Vietnam through funding in infrastructure and development of human resources in these countries.

Besides this, Japan will also support the ASEAN member states in dealing with the impacts of natural disasters via numerous programmes, including cooperation in capacity development and expertise sharing, he added.

The diplomat acknowledged ASEAN and its partners, including Japan,are facing several security issues such as terrorism, extremism, and maritime safety and security. He called for cooperation in tackling these issues in order to maintaining stability in this region. 

Regarding the East Sea issue, Kishida said Japan opposes any unilateral schemes to change the status quo in the water and urged for the establishment of a code of conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

Thailand was the second leg of the minister’s eight-day Asia tour, after China. He is scheduled to visit Myanmar , Laos and Vietnam.-VNA