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Japan, Thailand strengthen ties, urge end to crises in Ukraine and Myanmar

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha inspect the honour guard at the Government House in Bangkok on Monday. AFP

Japan, Thailand strengthen ties, urge end to crises in Ukraine and Myanmar

Thailand and Japan reaffirmed diplomatic ties on various fronts including defence and economic cooperation, as the countries’ leaders urged the end to the war in Ukraine and the political unrest in Myanmar.

At a joint press conference on May 2, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha marked 135 years of diplomatic relations by witnessing the signing of three agreements touching on financial cooperation, the exchange of defence technology and cooperation for Covid-19 support between the countries.

This is Kishida’s first official visit to Thailand and both leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where they agreed on the principles of territorial integrity, international law and the United Nations Charter.

“Both sides expressed concern over the escalation of tension in the situation and urged all relevant parties to cease all hostilities and violence and exercise utmost restraint.

“Moreover, Thailand and Japan reaffirmed the readiness to join hands with the international community to provide continued humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine,” said Prayut.

“In this regard, I proposed a concept on peace process as a new approach towards ending confrontation, which calls for the need to change the narrative of the Ukraine situation from conflict to humanitarian consideration for those who are affected by the Ukraine situation,” he said, adding that Thailand also proposed a similar approach to the situation in Myanmar.

The meeting also involved the signing of a security cooperation deal that would allow the transfer of defence equipment and technology between the two nations.

Japan is Thailand’s biggest investor and the countries share significant ties in the areas of industrial investment and development.

To enhance economic cooperation, Thailand and Japan are also drafting a five-year Joint Strategic Plan on Thailand-Japan Strategic Partnership which will be announced during another meeting that Japan will be hosting in the later part of this year.

During the meeting, Prayut said they discussed the issue of supply chain connectivity that can aid both countries in fields such as agriculture technology, artificial intelligence and electronic vehicles.

Japan has also provided donations of vaccines and medical equipment to Thailand during the pandemic, and on Monday extended a 50 billion yen (S$532 million) loan to support the latter’s battle against Covid-19.

Kishida’s two-day Bangkok visit is part of a wider European and Asia tour.

He was previously in Indonesia and Vietnam.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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