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Japan to provide $106 million in aid to Mekong countries to boost co-operation in COVID-19 fight

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DPM and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn at the 13th Mekong-Japan Cooperation Foreign Ministers' video conference.

Foreign ministers of Mekong countries and Japan discussed measures to boost co-operation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic economic recovery.

They stressed the need to increase joint efforts to prevent the disease and reconstruct the economy at the online 13th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Binh Minh and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Thursday in Ha Noi.

Mekong countries include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn participated in this regional meeting

The ministers agreed to boost transparent and timely sharing of information among countries relating to policies and measures against the COVID-19 pandemic; and increase research and attract human resources in vaccine development and production.

To recover the economy, the ministers agreed to increase co-operation in protecting the regional supply chain, support small- and medium-sized enterprises in adapting to the new situation, applying science and technology in agriculture, and developing high-quality infrastructure.

Japan committed to providing medical equipment worth $56 million and training for medical workers of Mekong countries, to offer at least $50 million to help Mekong countries improve their capacity to respond to the pandemic and provide credits for countries to deal with pandemic-caused issues.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Minh said a comprehensive approach was necessary to cope with the pandemic while recovering the economy.

Minh suggested three groups of specific measures to help effectively recover the economies of member countries.

Firstly, raising the strength of economies, particularly in promoting businesses’ investment in infrastructure, supporting the industrialisation of Mekong countries, facilitating trade and investment activities and creating conditions to help high-quality commodities of Mekong countries access the Japanese market.

Secondly, recovering the economy in tandem with protecting people’s health by enhancing human resources for medical establishments, vaccine production and building labs for Mekong countries.

Thirdly, implementing the Mekong-Japan Initiative for Sustainable Development Goals towards 2030. — VNS

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