QUITO – Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Ecuadorian counterpart, Jose Valencia, agreed Monday to deepen economic ties and cooperation in disaster mitigation, with this year marking the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the nations.
Kono, the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Ecuador, signed a document with Valencia that paves the way for Japan to provide grant aid worth $2.7 million so the Latin American country can prepare disaster-related resources such as tents.
During a joint press appearance, Kono expressed support for political and economic reforms pursued by Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno, who was sworn in May.
As Ecuador is known for its rich agricultural products, such as bananas and cacao beans, Kono said Japan will encourage more investment in the South American nation.
Valencia expressed his hope for stronger bilateral relations and revealed that Moreno has received an invitation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for an official visit to Japan in September.
Kono also held talks with the Ecuadorean president on Monday.
Ecuador is the first leg of Kono’s four-nation Latin American tour, which will also take him to Peru, Colombia and Mexico.
In Peru and Mexico, Kono plans to coordinate the expedited enforcement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation regional free trade agreement of which Japan and the two countries are members.
In Colombia, the top Japanese diplomat is expected to discuss the possible entry of the country into the TPP.