Foreign ministers from Japan and five Mekong river countries got together at the 9th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Vientiane, Laos, on July 25. (Photo: mofa.go.jp)

Vientiane (VNA) – Foreign ministers from Japan and five Mekong river countries got together at the 9th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Vientiane, Laos, on July 25, alongside the 49th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM-49).

The meeting was chaired by Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Laos’ Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith with their counterparts from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand in attendance.

Ministers reviewed Mekong-Japan cooperation based upon the “New Tokyo Strategy 2015” and the “Mekong-Japan Action Plan for Realisation of the New Tokyo Strategy” for 2016-2018.

They also discussed preparations for the 8th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting to be held on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit in Laos in September.

The ministers of Mekong countries welcomed the Mekong-Japan Connectivity Initiative proposed by Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida in his ASEAN Policy Speech in Bangkok, Thailand on May 2, 2016 and decided to establish senior-level working groups to advance the Mekong-Japan Action Plan for Realisation of the New Tokyo Strategy which was funded 750 billion JPY by Japan.

They expressed their appreciation for the Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure of the government of Japan with the financing of approximately 200 billion USD.

The ministers emphasised the importance of human resources development, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaption, and sustainable management of water resources.

They agreed to strengthen collaboration between the Mekong-Japan Cooperation and the Mekong River Commission for sustainable development towards a green Mekong.

They also discussed issues of common concern, particularly recent terrorist attacks, territorial disputes in the East Sea and the situation in the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh affirmed Vietnam’s commitment to Mekong-Japan Cooperation.

He proposed that more focus should be put on environmental protection, green growth, adaption to climate change, and sustainable use and management of water resources.

The 10th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled to convene in the Philippines in 2017 in coincidence with the AMM-50.-VNA