Top Stories : Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the 13th Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via videoconference  news3

Top Stories : Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the 13th Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via videoconference

Thai Foreign Minister attended the 13th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to discuss cooperation on response to COVID-19 and economic recovery, highlighting the importance of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), strengthening collective response and resilience to future health emergencies including ensuring equitable access to vaccines and medicines, promoting connectivity and an environment conducive and friendly to trade and investment.

On 9 July 2020, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, attended the 13th Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via videoconference. The Meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. The meeting was also attended by Foreign Ministers from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.

Being the first Mekong – Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting following the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the meeting highlighted the importance of cooperation on public health. The Japanese Foreign Minister emphasised the importance of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), mitigating socioeconomic impacts, as well as ensuring economic recovery. In this regard, Japan has provided technical assistance to medical workers, and medical supplies to hospitals and other medical institutions, as well as established the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Japan has also launched and will contribute at least 1 billion yen (9.365 million USD) to the KUSANONE Mekong SDGs Initiative in 2020 in order to support social and economic development across the Mekong sub-region.

On this occasion, the Thai Foreign Minister reiterated the importance of ensuring equitable access to vaccines and medicines, human resource development and cooperation to achieve UHC. He expressed Thailand’s readiness to share its experiences on UHC through cross-border medical network system, implement the Mekong-Japan Initiative for SDGs towards 2030, as well as enhance connectivity through quality infrastructure development, keeping markets open, promoting digital economy and establishing a mechanism to facilitate essential travels. He also proposed the synergy and cooperation between the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific, as well as between Mekong-Japan Cooperation and the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

The Ministers of the Mekong countries expressed condolences and sympathies for the loss of lives and damages caused by the floods and landslides in southwestern Japan. They appreciated Japan for her efforts to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and contribution in various projects to achieve UHC in the sub-region. They also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen public health system, foster economic relations, and move forward cooperation under Tokyo Strategy 2018 to ensure economic recovery and sustainable development in the sub-region.

The meeting adopted the Co-Chairs’ Statement of the 13th Mekong-Japan Ministers’ Meeting “Mekong-Japan Cooperation for Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Integral Strengthening of Economic Relations”, stressing the importance of collective efforts to achieve UHC and strengthen resilience for response to future pandemics. With a view to ensuring economic recovery, it also emphasized the importance of enhancing the resilient and sustainable supply chain, keeping the markets open, as well as creating an enabling environment for trade and investment.