Government officials and airlines from 18 nations in the Asia-Oceania region will gather in Bangkok on March 5 and 6 seeking cooperation in the field of civil aviation, Transport Ministry officials said Feb. 5.

The second meeting of the Regional Cooperation Forum for International Air Transport in Asia and Oceania will take place at a time when the United States is trying to promote an “open skies” policy, or the full liberalization of the international aviation market in Asia. Japan — which proposed the forum and sponsored its first meeting in Kyoto last year — sees the gathering as the best possible opportunity to discuss aviation issues with its Asian neighbors, both multilaterally and bilaterally, without the participation of the U.S.

Some participating countries are also among the 18 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, but the U.S. and other non-Asian APEC members are not included. Each nation is expected to make a presentation on its aviation policy. The members are also scheduled to discuss the region’s air transport environment and economic cooperation in the field, including construction of the necessary infrastructure.

Members of the forum are Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, China, South Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar and member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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