Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (L) meets with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai in Bangkok on May 1 (Source: Reuters)

Bangkok (VNA) – Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced on May 2 a 7-billion-USD aid initiative in the next three years to promote the growth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), which encompasses parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

In a speech at Chulalongkorn University in the Thai capital of Bangkok, the diplomat accoladed the importance of Southeast Asia’s economic development to Japan while asserting the initiative will help to promote “connectivity” between Southeast Asian countries and Japan through funding in infrastructure and development of human resources.

Kishida stressed that invigorating the flow of goods and people by connecting the region through transport works is indispensable for promoting economic development, adding that Japan’s cooperation will go beyond building infrastructure. 

Japan’s foreign minister said over the next three years, the country will use the aid toward cooperation with the Mekong region.

Kishida reiterated his call for the establishment of a code of conduct (COC) in the East Sea and underlined that prosperity can only be achieved if there is peace and stability in the region.

The diplomat acknowledged that the ASEAN member states are facing issues of terrorism and extremism, and ensuring maritime safety and security, calling for cooperation in tackling these issues in order to maintaining stability in this region. 

On the same day, the Japanese official met Thailand’ Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The two sides discussed Thailand’s political situation as well as terror threats and economic challenges in the region.

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