Ja­pan waives debts to help Myan­mar grow

Viet Nam News - - Front Page -

NAYPY­ITAW — Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe yes­ter­day pledged 91 bil­lion yen (US$890 mil­lion) in fresh aid to Myan­mar, while waiv­ing some 190 bil­lion yen in debts, in a bid to sup­port the South­east Asian coun­try’s growth.

Dur­ing the first visit to the coun­try by a Ja­panese pre­mier in 36 years, Abe and Myan­mar Pres­i­dent Thein Sein agreed to lay “a new foun­da­tion for mu­tual friend­ship” by boost­ing co­op­er­a­tion in eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity ar­eas, as well as in­ter­per­sonal and cul­tural ex­changes, ac­cord­ing to their joint state­ment.

Dur­ing their sum­mit talks, Abe called for “jump-start­ing” bi­lat­eral ties, which had been some­what “frozen” and tak­ing the re­la­tion­ship to a higher level, Ja­pan’s Deputy Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Hiroshige Seko said.

Fol­low­ing the sum­mit, the two lead­ers ex­changed notes on Tokyo’s waiver of the re­main­ing debt and pro­vi­sion of some 51 bil­lion yen in fresh loans to help Myan­mar’s in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment as well as up to 40 bil­lion yen in grant and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance in fis­cal 2013.

Of the 51 bil­lion yen, 20 bil­lion yen will be spent to build nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture for the Ti­lawa spe­cial eco­nomic zone near Yan­gon, which will be de­vel­oped by a Ja­pan- Myan­mar joint ven­ture by 2015.

With Ja­pan can­celling the 190 bil­lion yen in debts, Myan­mar’s out­stand­ing loans amount­ing to a to­tal of about 500 bil­lion yen will be cleared. The two coun­tries agreed on the treat­ment of the South­east Asian coun­try’s debt in April last year, with Tokyo be­com­ing the first cred­i­tor to take debt re­lief mea­sures.

Ja­pan and Myan­mar de­cided at that time the re­main­ing debt would be cleared af­ter one year.

Abe said Ja­pan’s pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors would to­gether sup­port Myan­mar’s ef­forts to pro­mote the na­tion’s eco­nomic re- forms and national rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween the Myan­mar govern­ment and eth­nic mi­nori­ties to re­solve con­flicts.

Abe and Thein Sein also shared the in­ten­tion to work to­ward the early sign­ing of a bi­lat­eral ac­cord on in­vest­ment and tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion.

As for bi­lat­eral po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion, the two lead­ers de­cided to en­hance dia­logue on se­cu­rity and re­gional is- sues as well as pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion and ex­change be­tween their de­fence au­thor­i­ties.

Abe told Thein Sein that Ja­pan be­lieves it is im­por­tant to deepen co­op­er­a­tion with Myan­mar, which is sand­wiched be­tween China and In­dia and will chair meet­ings of the 10-mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions in 2014, to se­cure sta­bil­ity in the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Seko. —

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