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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     1 November  2011

Vietnam, Japan reaffirm nuclear bond

Japan and Vietnam agreed Monday to continue their cooperation on nuclear power and joint development of rare earths produced in the Southeast Asian country.

Under a joint statement signed between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam has "expressed its strong desire for the provision of nuclear technologies from Japan."

Japan, for its part, assured Vietnam it will provide technologies that "represent the world's highest level of nuclear safety."

Whether or not countries would still import Japan's nuclear power technology has attracted attention since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which continues to spew out radiation.

Japan secured contracts last year to build two nuclear reactors planned for central Vietnam.

In the statement, Japan vowed to boost nuclear safety by sharing lessons learned from the nuclear crisis with "utmost transparency."

Dung told trade minister Yukio Edano, in a separate meeting earlier in the day, that he wants to make his nation's import of Japanese reactors a "symbol of their strategic bilateral relationship," according to Japanese government officials.

Noda and Dung also welcomed the progress made since Vietnam's prime minister agreed on the development of rare earth resources with Noda's predecessor, Naoto Kan, in October last year.

Japan has been keen to jointly develop the elements with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations where the resources are said to be relatively unexploited, as China currently controls more than 90 percent of global supplies.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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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