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Laotian Premier Expresses Concern Over Thai Turmoil

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh said at a Tokyo forum on Thursday that he hopes Thailand will quickly regain political stability as it is important for the stability of the region, while voicing worries that the turmoil will continue.

At the Future of Asia conference, Bouasone said that free trade is essential for continued economic growth in Asia.

Turning to regional economic integration, he said ASEAN should strengthen cooperation with other countries and that its relations with Japan, China and South Korea are significant because they expand the framework for such cooperation. He proposed the three nations be included in a wider regional community that ASEAN hopes to see by 2015.

Referring to European sovereign debt concerns, Bouasone said the Greek problem will only have a minor impact on Asia, expressing confidence that economic growth will continue, and that further integration is likely.

The two-day conference, organized by Nikkei Inc., kicked off on Thursday, with political, academic and business leaders from around the region discussing ways to facilitate economic growth and cooperation under the theme "Toward an Open Economic Partnership: A New Foundation for Growth."

Following the prime minister's speech in the morning, speakers from Japan, China, India and other countries discussed issues and challenges faced by Asian economies.

(The Nikkei May 20 evening edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.