July 9, 2020
13th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting1
13th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting2
13th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting3
On July 9, commencing at 3:30 p.m. for approximately 75 minutes, the 13th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held via video teleconference. Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the meeting as chairman, which was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. At the meeting, Minister Motegi and the foreign ministers of the Mekong countries discussed (1) Japan-Mekong cooperation for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a means of preparing for the future, including in relation to infectious diseases, and (2) the integrated strengthening of Japan-Mekong economic relations once overcoming the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, and adopted a Joint Co-Chairs' Statement (attended by H. E. Mr. Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Kingdom of Cambodia; H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic; H.E. Mr. Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand).

1 Opening Remarks

Minister Motegi appreciated the fact that, due to the efforts of each country, the spread of COVID-19 in the Mekong countries has been kept at a relatively low level. He also stated that it is precisely in these difficult circumstances that cooperation and solidarity in the international community is important, and that looks forward to Japan and the Mekong countries working together to strengthen their respective economies in an integrated manner.

2 Discussion

(1) Minister Motegi stated that Japan advocates Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and supports its implementation in various countries around the world. He added that Japan hopes to continue striving to achieve UHC in the Mekong countries and the rest of the world, in response to which the Mekong countries expressed their support.

(2) Minister Motegi stated that the international community must deal with infectious diseases that have a profound impact on the whole world - such as the current outbreak - in a concerted manner, and that it is necessary to conduct an impartial, independent, and comprehensive review of the situation based on the resolution from the World Health Assembly.

(3) With regard to assistance in the field of infectious diseases, Minister Motegi stated that Japan would strongly support the Mekong countries in their fight against COVID-19, based on the three pillars of (a) strengthening countermeasures against infectious diseases, (b) support for the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies, and (c) enhancing economic resilience. In response, the Mekong countries welcomed Japan's cooperation.

(4) In response to Minister Motegi's remarks on the importance of Japan-Mekong cooperation for economic recovery after COVID-19, each country expressed its agreement with and gratitude for Japan's cooperation, and both Japan and the Mekong countries affirmed they would work together to achieve integral strengthening of their economic relations.

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