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Abe makes 1st overseas visit to 3 Asian countries


16:48, January 16, 2013

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday left for three Southeast Asian countries as his first overseas trip after he was elected as Japan's prime minister last month.

The four-day trip will bring Abe to Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, said Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding the three countries are "part of the'growth center'of 21st century to lead global economic growth."

Abe will hold talks with leaders of the three countries, focusing on strengthening cooperation in trade, investment and infrastructure.

The ministry emphasized that Japan will enhance partnership in politics and security with Vietnam and Indonesia through Abe's visit.

Abe's visit follows the separated trips by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso to Myanmar and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to the Philippines, Singapore and Brunei earlier this month.

The high-level overseas visits have covered major countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), indicating Abe's new government put great importance on the region.

Analysts said Japan's steps are to seek supports from other countries so as to confront with China over a territorial dispute.

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