BANGKOK (Sputnik) - Japan and five southeastern Asian countries, located along the Mekong River, namely Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, have agreed to enhance their long-established cooperation raising it to the strategic partnership level, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
According to the Vietnam News Agency, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi signed the Tokyo Strategy 2018 agreement providing for the strategic partnership at the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting, which was held in Tokyo on October 9.
The six leaders have summarized the results of their decade-long partnership, namely within the dialogue between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and have set goals for the coming years, by choosing three priority programs of their strategic partnership — enhancing active dialogue within the region, prioritizing people's interests, and developing cooperation in medicine, education, and law enforcement.
The leaders have also confirmed their commitment to the peaceful settlement of the South China Sea conflicts over maritime borders and areas of responsibility. They have agreed on a number of joint transport and trade projects, as well as cyber projects.
According to the outlet, the leaders have also discussed the creation of a high-speed motorway connecting the Vietnamese and the Laotian capitals, the establishment of a constant maritime connection between Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as new ecology and education-related projects.
The Mekong nations have voiced their gratitude to Japan that provided them $6.6 billion in assistance from 2016 to 2018. The funds were mostly used for enhancing regional connectivity, and developing the social sphere and the industrial sector of the economy.
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