Thailand and Japan to back each other's bids to join UN rights body

Thailand and Japan to back each other's bids to join UN rights body
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THAILAND and Japan have agreed to support each other in their respective bids to become members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow said yesterday.

Sihasak reached the agreement with his Japanese counterpart, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki, during a meeting in Tokyo on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Japan Forum.

Japan will vote for Thailand when it applies for membership for the 2016-2018 United Nations Human Rights Council term and Thailand will vote for Japan in its bid for the 2017-2019 term, he said.

During the meeting the countries also discussed general bilateral relations, Sihasak said.

He said he reaffirmed that the Thai government would continue to implement the roadmap towards democracy and reconciliation while Saiki expressed his understanding of political developments in Thailand.

Commenting on the ASEAN-Japan Forum meeting, Sihasak said ASEAN and Japan agreed to forge more cooperation to give importance to Japan's role of maintaining peace, security and prosperity in the region.

Senior officials from ASEAN and Japan met in Tokyo on Wednesday and Thursday to review cooperation under the vision statement of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and a joint statement from the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit.

The statements were issued last year to mark the 40th anniversary of relations between the two countries.

Particular importance was given to Thailand cooperating with Japan in combating non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, computer crime and natural disaster, Sihasak said.

The cooperation on terrorism would be conducted via the ASEAN-Japan Counter Terrorism Dialogue, while Tokyo had the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund to support the cooperation on many issues such as disaster management, he said.

On economic matters, both sides agreed to enhance their economic cooperation in terms of trade and investment under the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, he said.

The agreement would lead to a more comprehensive economic cooperation in East Asia, he said, with Japan playing a key role in bridging the development gap of countries in ASEAN - notably members of the Mekong Basin. Japan cooperates with countries in the Mekong under the Japan-Mekong Cooperation.

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