TOKYO -- Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida plans to visit Myanmar within the next few weeks to meet with counterpart Aung San Suu Kyi, hoping to deepen ties with the rapidly growing Southeast Asian nation.
At the meeting, Kishida plans to invite the de facto head of the nation's new civilian administration to visit Japan soon. The Japanese foreign minister also plans to swing by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam following a scheduled visit to China at the end of this month.
Suu Kyi's first meeting with a cabinet member of another country took place on April 5, when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a surprise visit to Myanmar. By sending Kishida, the Japanese government intends to convey its full support of Myanmar's democratically elected government and strengthen economic ties. Japan plans to step up official development assistance and private-sector investment to tap the nation's strong demand for infrastructure.
In Vietnam, Kishida is expected to confirm with his counterpart that the two nations' commitment to maritime security in light of China's growing military presence in the South China Sea, including its deployment of missiles to a disputed island there. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers made a port call in Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay earlier this month.