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Japan extends Covid loan for Kingdom

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Five Mekong countries welcomed Japan’s establishment of the Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Finance Ministry

Japan extends Covid loan for Kingdom

Japan has extended its loan for Cambodia for $270 million to be used in Covid-19 response and economic revitalisation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said following the 12th virtual Mekong-Japan Summit on November 13.

At the summit, leaders of five Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – welcomed Japan’s establishment of the Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Under this initiative, the country extended approximately $270 million to Cambodia and $230 million for Myanmar.

In October, Cambodian foreign minister Prak Sokhonn had a telephone conversation with his Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu, who said his government would provide $234.6 million under the Covid-19 loan scheme.

Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, who attended the summit on behalf of Prime Minister Hun Sen while he is under quarantine, acknowledged Japan’s role in strengthening and promoting existing relationships.

Pornmoniroth said he hoped Japan would also contribute to the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Development Fund. Cambodia is currently the chair of ACMECS.

In a joint statement after the summit, the Japanese foreign ministry said: “Japan reiterated its intention to support ACMECS through Mekong Japan cooperation.”

On November 13, the five Mekong countries also held a separate summit with the Republic of Korea.

During the Mekong-ROK summit, Pornmoniroth urged chamber of commerce in each Mekong country to closely cooperate with the Korean trade association in order to reach a Memorandum of Understanding between the six countries.

Pornmoniroth said Cambodia will highlight five priority areas to be addressed when it co-chairs the Mekong-ROK next year.

“As the incoming co-chair of the third Mekong-ROK summit, Cambodia will prioritise five key aspects. We will put into implementation the post Covid-19 regional economic recovery plan, focusing on economic stabilisation, improved livelihoods and strengthening our preparedness against the future pandemic”, Pornmoniroth said.

Other priorities, he said, include fostering regional trade flow through diversification and trade liberalisation with active contribution from the private sector, strengthening and expanding cooperation by adhering to multilateral and universal mechanisms.
Also prioritised are development of green industries and cities, Pornmoniroth said.

According to the Cambodian foreign ministry, the Republic of Korea has contributed $10.4 million to the Mekong countries since 2013.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said during the summit Korea will work closely with the Mekong countries to ensure universal and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. He also proposed the Mekong-ROK be a step towards a “strategic partnership”.

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