Japan, Asean agree to boost economic and security ties
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan and Southeast Asian countries on Sunday pledged to boost economic and security ties, a day after they agreed on the importance of ensuring freedom of the skies after China declared a controversial air defence zone.
The leaders were discussing increasing exchanges of top diplomats and defence officials and closer coastguard cooperation, finalising a three-day special summit between Japan and Asean, officials said.
Tokyo on Saturday pledged US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in aid and loans to Southeast Asia at the summit with leaders of the Asean regional bloc, the latest step in its bid to woo global public opinion in its territorial dispute with China.
In bilateral talks on Sunday, Japan and Myanmar also agreed on an investment accord to accelerate Japanese investment in the former junta-ruled country, while Tokyo and Laos agreed to kick-start talks on a civil aviation agreement, officials said.