Japan's PM to visit Thailand next week
TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia next week, the government said on Thursday, after abandoning a plan to make Washington the first destination of his term.
- Published: 10/01/2013 at 01:54 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Mr Abe will visit the three countries from Jan 16 to 19, his first foreign tour since taking office late last month.
"It is important that we strengthen relations of cooperation with Asean countries to secure the peace and prosperity of this region, as the strategic environment changes," Mr Suga said.
Japan has courted the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has served as a major economic growth driver in the region, as something of a counterbalance to the rising might of China.
Mr Abe had earlier said he wanted to make the United States his first destination, stressing the importance of reinvigorating Tokyo's relationship with Washington.
But White House officials have said President Barack Obama's schedule was tight, as he prepares for his inauguration ceremony, the State of the Union address and a new cabinet, along with a number of foreign policy challenges.
Mr Suga said Japan would continue to negotiate with the White House to schedule a visit soon.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
- Position: News agency