May 4, 2022
TOKYO — Japan and Thailand have signed an agreement that enables Japan to export defense equipment and transfer defense technology to Thailand, with the aim of strengthening their security cooperation amid China’s increasing presence.
The agreement was reached Monday during a summit between visiting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Thai prime minister’s office in Bangkok. Both prime ministers attended the signing ceremony.
“[The agreement] is a major step forward in expanding bilateral security cooperation,” Kishida said at a joint press conference after the summit. Prayut expressed hope, saying the defense pact will “help promote Japanese investment in the Thai defense industry.”
The agreement is apparently aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the defense sector, with China’s growing hegemony in mind. Japan and Thailand will promote discussions on exports of specific defense equipment.
Japan has concluded a similar agreement with 11 other countries, including the United States, Britain and Australia. Thailand is this year’s chair for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kishida and Prayut confirmed during their talks that they would not accept the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and unilateral change in the status quo by force in any region. They agreed to oppose threats by mass destruction weapons and their use.
The two leaders also confirmed their close cooperation in dealing with China, which has been heightening its maritime advances in the South China Sea.