Japan, Thai leaders hold talks

Japan, Thai leaders hold talks

The Associated Press

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha met in early May 2022 for talks about economic, security and geopolitical issues, including political upheaval in Myanmar and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The leaders also oversaw the signing of three agreements covering financial cooperation, the transfer of defense equipment and technology, and a COVID-19 emergency response.

Kishida also visited Indonesia and Vietnam on his trip and planned stops in Italy and the United Kingdom. (Pictured: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attend a welcoming ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 2, 2022.)

Japan has long been a major economic investor in Thailand. Prayuth said the nations are drafting a five-year strategic plan for an economic partnership. The two leaders agreed on the importance of supply chain connectivity to enhance development of smart agriculture, 5G communication technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and electric vehicles and components.

Prayuth also said they were pleased with their countries’ “close defense and security cooperation.”

The war in Ukraine figured prominently in Kishida’s talks during his trip, and he and Prayuth said they were concerned about escalating tensions there. They called for an end to hostilities.

Prayuth said he proposed focusing on humanitarian considerations to end the war and suggested a similar approach might restore peace in Myanmar.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military seized power in February 2021 from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The coup has spurred massive public resistance, and the country is embroiled in what experts characterize as a civil war. Many nations worldwide have imposed sanctions against Myanmar’s military rulers, and Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Singapore have condemned the junta.