The Japanese Foreign Minister Mr. Sunao Sonoda arrived in Bangkok on Sunday (18 June) for?
The Japanese Foreign Minister Mr. Sunao Sonoda arrived in Bangkok on Sunday (18 June) for talks on economic and trade relations between Japan and Thailand. Mr. Sonoda has already indicated that Japan would gradually relax its protectionist attitude and buy more goods from the Thaisin an effort to correct the big trade imbalance suffered by Thailand.
SYNOPSIS: On Saturday (17 June) Mr. Sonoda met with the foreign minister of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Thai the resort town of Pattaya at the end of their annual three day conference.
Mr. Sonoda came at the invitation of the Thai Foreign Minister Mr. Upadit Pachariangkun in his capacity as Chairman of the ASEAN standing Committee.
During the one day talks, the ASEAN ministers stressed their desire to see Japan lower tariff and non-tariff barriers and increase imports from the ASEAN countries.
Both sides also discussed the future of five ASEAN joint industrial projects, which Japan has pledged to support by contributing 1,000 million US dollars.
ASEAN ministers said after the meeting it was now certain that money for the first two-projects....urea fertiliser plants in Malaysia and Indonesia, would be forthcoming soon. Mr. Sonoda indicated that financing of the projects could go ahead independently once they were approved.
He also told the meeting that a feasibility study by Japanese experts had already begun on a third project...a super-phosphate plant in the Philippines.
Other issues brought up during the talks included the growing problem of Indochinese refugees. At a press conference, Mr. Sonoda said Japan is currently taking steps to admit more refugees. The move follows international criticism that Japan was not doing enough about the refugee problem.
Mr. Sonoda also reaffirmed that his country would be giving ten million US dollars to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help in the resettlement of the refugees.