Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Wednesday pledged to Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn an emergency loan of ¥25 billion ($237 million) to support the Southeast Asian country’s economy battered by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In their telephone talks, Motegi also said Japan intends to support Cambodia’s efforts to combat pollution in urban areas and marine pollution caused by plastic waste as well as to enhance its counterterrorism capabilities, the Foreign Ministry said.
The Cambodian foreign minister, who doubles as deputy prime minister, expressed thanks for the support and added that he expects to further promote the countries’ cooperation in fighting the pandemic, it said.
Motegi also held telephone talks with Lao counterpart Saleumxay Kommasith on Wednesday and agreed to strengthen the countries’ partnership, the ministry said.
The Japanese foreign minister said Tokyo will support Laos’ efforts for independent and sustainable development, including the country’s response to the coronavirus, it said.
Japan has been stepping up cooperation with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in a veiled counter to China’s rising clout in the region.
Cambodia and Laos, both part of the framework, have close ties with Beijing, a major aid benefactor and source of investment.
Among other ASEAN countries, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited Vietnam and Indonesia for four days through Wednesday, his first trip abroad since taking office in September.
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