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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    13 July 2012

GMS countries, Japan adopt plan to boost cooperation


Foreign ministers from five Mekong countries and Japan have reaffirmed their resolve to boost cooperation and adopted an action plan to realise a vision outlined by leaders in April.

"The ministers had fruitful discussion on various issues," said a joint statement by Kao Kim Hourn, secretary of state of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan's parliamentary senior vice minister for foreign affairs.

The statement said issues of common interest discussed Tuesday included "the progress and the future direction of the Mekong-Japan cooperation."

Japan and the Mekong countries "reaffirmed their determination to further strengthen the Mekong-Japan cooperation," it said, adding that ministers "also exchanged views on regional and global issues of common concern."

In addition, the ministers adopted an action plan to realise the "Tokyo Strategy 2012" which leaders of the five countries adopted at their April summit in the Japanese capital.

Concrete actions and measures are grouped under the three pillars enhancing Mekong connectivity, developing together and ensuring human security and environmental sustainability.

The statement said ministers recognised the plan would contribute to a new partnership for a "common flourishing future" between the Mekong and Japan.

They also "shared the view that the speedy and effective implementation of the action plan would bring about further development and prosperity in the Mekong Sub-region."

Apart from Cambodia, other countries that took part in the meeting with Japan were Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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