Japan vowed on Wednesday to strengthen support for Thailand to step up its decarbonization efforts to help the country rebuild its pandemic-hit economy, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
Tokyo affirmed its cooperation with Bangkok in providing technology necessary to cut carbon dioxide emissions and boost renewable energy use in an online meeting attended by Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, his counterpart Don Pramudwinai and senior officials of the two countries, according to the ministry.
The latest pledge comes after Tokyo earlier this year outlined its “Asia Energy Transition Initiative,” under which it promised to give $10 billion in financial support to Thailand and other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for renewable energy, energy efficiency, LNG and other projects which are expected to create new jobs and investment.
The Thai economy shrank 2.6 percent in the January-March period from a year earlier for the fifth straight quarter of contraction. The country see no signs of coronavirus infections abating anytime soon with its highest daily increase in new cases reported last week.
Bangkok showed determination during the meeting to beef up its health care system to prevent it from collapsing, while expressing gratitude for Japan’s donation of 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, the ministry said.
The two countries also reaffirmed in a statement issued after the meeting Japan’s “full support” for Thailand to join the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership, as Bangkok has expressed interest in joining the free trade bloc formed by Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Japan, chair of the bloc’s decision-making body this year, is hoping to broaden the trade bloc, as it calls on the United States to return to the trade pact after the world’s biggest economy withdrew under former President Donald Trump.
Motegi called Japan’s ties with Thailand a cornerstone of its commitment toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific in an apparent counter to China’s increasing clout.
The two also shared their commitment to resolving the political crisis in Myanmar following the Feb. 1 military takeover which ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and its democratically elected governmentA