The Thai government has stressed its policy of assisting neighboring countries in the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion, for the stability and prosperity of the region as a whole.
Speaking during her visit to Japan from 19-22 April 2012 for the 4th Mekong-Japan Summit, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra stated that, in 2012, the Thai government had allocated 883 million yen, or 77 million US dollars, for infrastructure development and technical assistance for countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
In the summit, the Prime Minister met leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Japan, and they also adopted the “Tokyo Strategy for Mekong-Japan Cooperation” as a foundation for Mekong-Japan cooperation for the next three years, from 2013 to 2015.
Prime Minister Yingluck reiterated Thailand’s commitments to working closely with Japan as strategic partner for development, in an effort to strengthen the economy in the Greater Mekong Subregion. She proposed three cooperation projects to be implemented with Japan for Mekong development.
The first project calls for increased cooperation in developing the East-West Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor to accommodate more regional economic activities and to be able to handle risks from floods and other natural disasters in the future.
In the second project, the Prime Minister urged Japan to support and take part in the development of the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate in Myanmar. Thailand would set aside a budget for the construction of a special highway connecting Bangkok with the Thai-Myanmar border. She said that the project would link the Southern Economic Corridor with the Andaman Sea and South China Sea.
In the third project, Prime Minister Yingluck proposed that both Thailand and Japan work out training courses jointly to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The courses will include, for example, the liberalization of trade, services, and investment in preparation for the realization of the ASEAN Community in 2015.
She pointed out that Thailand attaches great importance to infrastructure development in neighboring countries, as it would help improve local people’s living conditions and narrow economic and development gaps among countries in the ASEAN region. Thailand has already supported almost 20 infrastructure development projects in neighboring countries.
The Prime Minister also commended Japan for its financial support of 600 billion yen in the next three years for infrastructure development and connectivity, as part of Greater Mekong Subregion development.