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December 26, 2007

Japan to host foreign ministerial talks with Mekong nations

Japan will host a foreign ministerial meeting with Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos on Jan. 16 in Tokyo to strengthen Japan's cooperation with the Mekong region, Press Secretary Mitsuo Sakaba said Tuesday.

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and his counterparts are expected to discuss topics in various fields including economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, Sakaba said. In addition to the one-day talks, the ministers will also engage in bilateral meetings on Jan. 16-17.

The Japan-Mekong foreign ministerial meeting, the first of its kind, is to realize an agreement in January this year between Japan, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

As part of its support for integration and closing the economic gap among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan has been especially active in assisting the Mekong region, such as with public works projects.

In talks with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet in Tokyo in November, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda assured him that Japan will expand aid to Vietnam and the others in the Mekong region for three years beginning in the current fiscal year.

Courtesy Kyodo

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