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BANGKOK: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Thailand yesterday, part of a three-country Southeast Asian tour to consolidate business ties in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions and counter growing Chinese assertiveness. Tension remains high over China’s claims on parts of the South China Sea that are also claimed by four Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, which Abe visited on Wednesday.
Abe and his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra gave no indication at a news conference after talks whether any progress had been made on this issue, making only general comments about security that did not mention the South China Sea. The Japanese premier leaves today for Jakarta, where he is expected to give a major policy speech.