The Straits Times
Published on Jan 17, 2013

Japan's Abe in Thailand to talk economic ties, security


BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Thailand today, part of a three-country South-east Asian tour to consolidate business ties in one of the world's fastest-growing regions and counter growing Chinese assertiveness.

Tension remains high over China's claims on parts of the strategically vital and mineral-rich South China Sea that are also claimed by four South-east Asian countries including Vietnam, which Mr Abe visited on Wednesday.

Mr Abe and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra gave no indication at a news conference after talks whether any progress had been made on this issue, making only general comments about security that did not mention the South China Sea.

The Japanese premier leaves for Jakarta on Friday, where he is expected to give a major policy speech.