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March 27, 2008

Fukuda promises further cooperation on integration

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, in his meeting with Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, said Japan would continue cooperation on regional issues, including efforts to integrate the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, reported Kyodo news agency.

The Asean chief urged the Japanese leader during their half-hour talk to come up with his own version of the so-called ''Fukuda Doctrine'' aimed at deepening economic and political ties in the region.

The Fukuda Doctrine was formulated by the late Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, father of the current prime minister.

On Asean integration, Surin, a former Thai foreign minister, said efforts are needed to help bridge the gap between the Asean’s poorer Mekong countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam -- and other member states.

Fukuda promised further cooperation in promoting Asean integration, especially in eliminating the gap within the grouping by assisting the Mekong region, according to Japanese Foreign Ministry officials.

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