Japanese PM proposes more cooperation between Quad and ASEAN countries hinh anh 1Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (second, right) speaks at the virtual Quad summit on March 12 (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Tokyo (VNA)Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has proposed stronger cooperation between the Quad countries (the US, Japan, India, Australia) and others such as members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific.

He made the proposal at the virtual Quad summit gathering leaders of the four countries on March 12.

The PM told reporters after the meeting that the other leaders had agreed.

The Quad leaders also agreed to further strengthen cooperation and set up three working groups devoted to key issues, including the COVID-19 response.

They concurred in working together to help distribute coronavirus vaccines to developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region, Suga said, adding that a working group will discuss how to implement the programme.

He noted the meeting helped the four countries achieve a "new stage" in their relationship, and that they agreed to hold an in-person summit by the end of this year./.