• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will seek an agreement with the leaders of five Southeast Asian nations during a summit this Sunday in Tokyo that they will aspire to “high-quality growth” in the Mekong region, government sources said.

As Beijing readies to launch the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Abe wants to include the words “high-quality growth” in the summit’s joint statement to counter China’s increasing influence in the Mekong region, the sources said Sunday.

Japan also hopes to highlight its difference with China over regional infrastructure development by promoting its technology and environmentally friendly expertise, the sources said.

The five Mekong states taking part in the summit, which has been held annually since 2009, are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Abe also plans to hold bilateral meetings with each of his counterparts from the Mekong countries.

During the summit, Japan is also likely to call on them to cooperate further on the security front.

The envisioned joint statement will serve as a revised version of a document released after the Mekong-Japan Summit in 2012, in which Japan committed about ¥600 billion in official development assistance over three years from fiscal 2013.

Abe pledged last month that Japan will boost infrastructure investment in Asia by around 30 percent over the next five years from the current level, hoping to maintain a significant presence in the fast-growing region, which has enormous infrastructure needs.

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