Japan aims to raise aid to Mekong region during talks in Hanoi
HANOI, Oct. 29, Kyodo - Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan agreed with leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam on Friday in Hanoi to continue cooperating on the development of infrastructure in the resource-rich Mekong region.
The second summit with the Mekong nations following the inaugural gathering in November 2009 in Tokyo was held on the sideline of meetings involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Kan and his five counterparts adopted a joint statement affirming further enhancement of cooperation, with the Mekong nations calling Japan a ''long-standing, reliable and indispensable partner'' and urging Tokyo's continued commitment to their region.
Two other documents -- an action plan on an initiative known as ''A Decade toward the Green Mekong'' agreed by Japan and the five nations last year and another action plan on Japan-Mekong economic and industrial cooperation -- were also agreed upon.
Under the action plan, Tokyo aims to strengthen cooperation on tackling climate change and other environmental challenges by offering financial aid such as official development aid, as well as technical aid through its technologies and knowledge in these areas.
Japan says the Mekong region is vital to the peace and stability of East Asia and a potential source of trade.
Through the talks, Japan apparently wants to raise local awareness of Japan's aid in infrastructure projects in the Mekong region, as it competes with other countries such as China for presence in the region.