Japan vows aid after PMs meet

Japan vows aid after PMs meet

B13bn package to bolster recovery

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida walk past a guard of honour at Government House yesterday before holding talks to bolster cooperation between the two nations. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida walk past a guard of honour at Government House yesterday before holding talks to bolster cooperation between the two nations. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida met to bolster defence and economic cooperation and discuss the war in Ukraine on Monday.

Ono Hikariko, spokeswoman for Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the visit affirmed the good relations between the two countries, with Tokyo agreeing to extend further economic assistance to Thailand to help its post-Covid recovery.

She said the Japanese government has agreed to extend a 50-billion-yen (about 13 billion baht) loan to the Thai government to aid the country's economic turnaround.

Furthermore, Tokyo will provide further economic packages designed to enhance the capacity of Thailand's entire supply chain to support the operations of Japanese companies. Both governments will cooperate on decarbonisation efforts, in accordance with the framework outlined in the Paris Climate Change Treaty.

Ms Hikariko said the packages will alps help promote the region's energy security.

Japan has been deepening ties with Asean nations as it seeks to promote its vision of a "free and open" Indo-Pacific region to counter increasing Chinese assertiveness. The Japanese and Thai leaders are also expected to discuss the situation in Myanmar after the military coup in 2021 and North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions.

Thailand is chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic (Apec) forum this year, which Russia is also a member of, apparently contributing to Bangkok's neutral stance toward Moscow and its invasion of Ukraine. Japan has stressed the need to keep communicating with other Asian nations that "cannot take the same action" as the G7, which include Japan and the United States. The G7 nations has imposed a slew of sanctions to punish Moscow.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio arrived in Thailand on Sunday and was scheduled to leave the country last night en route to Italy. The visits, which included stops in Indonesia, Vietnam before Thailand, Italy and United Kingdom, are part of Japan's effort to bolster ties with its allies amid the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Earlier, Shikata Noriyuki, the Japanese government's spokesman, said the Thai government has expressed its stance on humanitarian support to Ukraine and said more discussions about the issue should be included during Apec meeting hosted by Thailand.

He also said the Japanese government will support the Thai government's proposals as Apec chair, especially the push to implement the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economic model.

Determined to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the government is giving priority to the sectors which will help Thailand achieve this goal, including electric vehicles and battery production, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana after the meeting.

Several Japanese companies have expressed interest in investing more in these sectors, he said, citing information from a recent visit to Japan on April 19-23 by a Thai delegation led by Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

During the visit, Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) chairman, Sasaki Nobuhiko, expressed his gratitude to Thailand for supporting Japanese businesses, saying Thailand remains the focus of Japanese companies' supply chains in the region, according to the spokesman.

Representatives from five Japanese companies which produce electric vehicles also pledged to keep Thailand as their production base, Mr Thanakorn said, noting the companies will also produce supporting parts which include batteries, spare parts and recharging stations in Thailand.

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