Bilateral Summit Meetings between Japan and the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Union of Myanmar
At the margin of the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting in Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held bilateral meetings on 5 November 2002 with Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of the Kingdom of Thailand, and Prime Minister Than Shwe of the Union of Myanmar (Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)). The following is a summary of those meetings.
1. Japan-Cambodia Summit Meeting
(1) Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his congratulations to Cambodia for successfully enhancing its international status to the point of being able to host a series of the Summit Meetings as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his deep gratitude to Japan for its economic cooperation that had helped Cambodia.
(2) Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Koizumi for attending the Summit Meetings and requested Japan:
(a) to continue to provide assistance to Cambodia;
(b) to take a more short-term approach in assisting Cambodia in light of the fact that Cambodia reviews its nation-building plans every three years;
(c) to cooperate in repairing National Highway No. 1 and in constructing a bridge over the Mekong River on its route.
(3) Prime Minister Koizumi stated that, despite the tragic loss of two lives of Japanese nationals, Japan had been playing a central role in the reconstruction and development of Cambodia and intended to continue to provide assistance. Prime Minister Koizumi called upon the government of Cambodia to address short-term issues such as the Khmer Rouge Trials, as well as medium- to long-term agendas such as administrative and fiscal reforms and human resources development. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that the government of Cambodia attached priority to the Khmer Rouge Trials on its political agenda.
(4) Furthermore, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that Japan had deemed its assistance to the ASEAN countries significantly important. In this context, Prime Minister Koizumi called upon the government of Cambodia to register the priorities of specific development projects in accordance with its national policies and to exert efforts to reform various systems to facilitate foreign investments into the country.
(5) In closing, both leaders shared the view that they would further promote the friendly relationship between Japan and Cambodia toward the Japan-ASEAN Exchange Year 2003.
2. Japan-Thailand Summit Meeting
(1) Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership
Prime Minister Koizumi stated that Japan had begun implementing Economic Partnership Initiative by working with Thailand. He further stated that consultations would continue at the working level while the second meeting of the Working Group was scheduled in November. Prime Minister Thaksin stated that Thailand viewed Japan as an important partner of its free trade agreement (FTA) and that both nations should act boldly and advance forward as quickly as possible.
(2) Asian Bond
Prime Minister Thaksin proposed to set up an Asian Bond market, which was intended to transform foreign currency reserves of Asian nations to investments in the area. In response, Prime Minister Koizumi stated that it was such an interesting proposal that it should be discussed among experts.
(3) Other matters
Both leaders mentioned that they had formed their respective governments around the same time, and that there had been more bilateral meetings between them than any other Asian leaders.
3. Japan-Myanmar Summit Meeting
(1) Prime Minister Koizumi stated that in order for Myanmar to succeed in its nation-building and peace-building efforts, the government needed to make its own efforts toward democratization.
(2) In response, Prime Minister Than Shwe explained Myanmar's efforts toward democratization, outlining the points as follow:
(a) Since her release in May, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been free to visit anywhere inside of Myanmar, including all of the development project sites such as dams, bridges and irrigation facilities. Moreover, the National League for Democracy (NLD) is free to engage in political activities. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is soon scheduled to visit Irrawady Division, a major region both in terms of economy and population. In addition, she has met with relevant ministers of the government on 13 occasions and with a liaison officer 107 times;
(b) In order to comprehend Myanmar issues, it is important not to confine Myanmar's political situations into the relations between himself (Prime Minister Than Shwe) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but also to consider the fact that there are 135 ethnic minorities in Myanmar with their own complex problems.
(3) Prime Minister Koizumi made the following statements:
(a) He understands the points pointed out by Prime Minister Than Shwe;
(b) The international community expects that the efforts toward democratization would contribute to nation-building and peace-building, and Prime Minister Koizumi would like to encourage Prime Minister Than Shwe to make efforts toward reforms;
(c) He understands Prime Minister Than Shwe's request not to simplify Myanmar's political situations to the terms between him and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However, it is also important to understand that the international community views Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as the symbol of democratization.
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