Asia

Japan announces $7 billion plan to develop Mekong region

  • Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, right, meets with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker,Pool)

    Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, right, meets with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker,Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, right, sits with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during their meeting at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, Pool)

    Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, right, sits with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during their meeting at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, center right, sits with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center left, and their delegations for talks at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, Pool)

    Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, center right, sits with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center left, and their delegations for talks at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Japan's foreign minister has announced a multi-billion dollar initiative to promote development in the Mekong region, which encompasses parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand through which the river flows.

In a speech at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on Monday, Fumio Kishida affirmed the importance of Southeast Asia's economic prosperity to Japan. He pledged 750 billion yen ($7 billion) in funding during the next three years to support development and growth in the region.

Kishida also renewed his call for the establishment of a code of conduct in the South China Sea and that prosperity can only achieved if there is peace and stability in the region.

The visit to Thailand is part of his regional tour that includes stops in China, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.