Japan supports RCEP conclusion this year hinh anh 1Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on October 23. (Thai Government House photo)

Bangkok (VNA) - The Japanese administration has shown its support for Thailand in concluding the long-delayed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement this year when the kingdom assumes Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Thai Government House announced on October 23 that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha received the backing during a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, after he flew to Japan to attend the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito on October 22.

The announcement said the two leaders agreed on the need to conclude the RCEP, and Tokyo reiterated its support for Thailand to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact.

Thailand hopes attempts by the 10 ASEAN members and six free-trade partners to finalise the RCEP will be completed in Bangkok next month when Thailand hosts the 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement between ASEAN and its six free trade agreement partners -- China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Negotiations on the pact began in 2013 and were initially expected to be concluded two years later. However, the conclusion has been delayed for many times.

Once signed, the agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world, housing about 3.5 billion people and accounting for 30 percent of global GDP./.