Photo/IllutrationJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, speaks at the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting held in the State Guest House in Tokyo’s Moto-Akasaka district on Oct. 9. (Pool)

Five Southeast Asian leaders joined Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the State Guest House in Tokyo on Oct. 9 to adopt an agreement to strengthen ties between their nations and Japan.

The agreement, titled “Tokyo Strategy 2018,” was adopted by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as Japan, at the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting.

The document positions relations between Japan and the Mekong River region as a “strategic partnership,” and it describes “strengthening connectivity,” “raising human resources” and “environmental protection” as its pillars, with the aim of developing high-quality infrastructure.

In a joint announcement after the summit, Abe said, “The Mekong region has big potential for growth and prosperity. We adopted (the agreement) to realize an affluent future together.”

Meanwhile, keeping in mind China, which is strengthening its maritime presence in the region, the leaders confirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, safety and the freedom to navigate and fly over the South China Sea.

They also demanded that North Korea take concrete measures toward denuclearization.

(This article was written by Tamiyuki Kihara and Ryuta Sometaya.)