With their economic strengths, Japan and Singapore should promote more cooperation in helping Asian neighbors in economic and other areas, Chew Tai Soo, the new Singapore ambassador to Japan, said Monday.

Calling relations between the two countries “excellent,” Chew noted that Singapore and Japan are cooperating to help developing countries by sharing costs equally.

He said he is happy that important speeches on Japan’s Asian policies, including one by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto in January last year and another by Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi last month, were made in Singapore, indicating the importance Tokyo attaches to Singapore.

He also pointed out that Singapore has provided Indonesia with $5 billion — matching Japan as the only other nation to contribute as much — and also has given Thailand $1 billion in emergency bailout funds. In doing so, Singapore has joined Japan and the International Monetary Fund in significantly contributing to the economies of Asia.

Referring to the Indonesian situation, the envoy noted that Indonesia is in immediate need of stability, not political changes, to put its economy back on track. Political changes, he said, can be carried out after the economy is normalized, although pressures for political reforms are now mounting.

Chew, 57, was a deputy secretary of the Foreign Ministry and an ambassador-at-large from 1995 until he assumed his current post earlier this year. He served in the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo in 1974 and 1975 and then as the consul general in Osaka from 1975 to 1977.

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