Japan, Thai leaders talks focus on stronger economic, security ties

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday, confirming the economic and security partnership between the two countries.

"I want to keep enhancing the strategic partnership with Thailand...as the environment in the Asia-Pacific region has significantly changed," Abe said at the onset of the meeting in Tokyo. Yingluck responded by appreciating Japanese assistance for development of the Thai economy.

The two leaders, who met for the second time following the talks in January in Bangkok, eye stronger security cooperation amid tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions as well as China's growing maritime assertiveness.

They are also considering expanding trade and investment between the two countries, as Japan is set to join talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord while Thailand is also studying possible membership of the U.S.-led framework currently being negotiated by 11 countries in the area.