UPDATE 1-Japan finmin says to boost regional financial ties at ASEAN+3 meeting

* ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea to hold annual meeting on May 3

* ASEAN+3 virtual meeting held on sidelines of ADB gathering

* Aso to highlight importance of boosting Chiang Mai Initiative (Adds quote, detail)

TOKYO, April 30 (Reuters) - Japan will aim to strengthen regional financial cooperation with China, South Korea and ASEAN countries on May 3 when their financial leaders meet on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s annual meetings, Finance Minister Taro Aso said.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Aso underscored the importance of strengthening regional financial ties given the COVID-19 crisis.

“We will discuss regional macroeconomic policy and responses to the situations we face as well as financial cooperation,” he said. “I will tell them it’s important to further strengthen multilateral financial cooperations such as the Chiang Mai Initiative.”

Aso made the comment ahead of the annual meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors from China, Japan, South Korea and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) scheduled to be held via teleconference.

At their last virtual meeting in September, the ministers from Japan, South Korea, China and ASEAN, a group known as ASEAN+3, promised to boost the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM).

The CMIM plays a crucial role in supporting regional financial stability by allowing the member economies, which include the ASEAN+3 and Hong Kong, to tap currency swap lines to secure currencies in need.

ADB’s annual gatherings are expected to reaffirm the importance of universal health coverage, climate change, high-quality infrastructure, mobilisation of domestic funds, debt transparency and sustainability.

“I’ll express expectations for ADB to continue to tackle these areas under its governor (Masatsugu) Asakawa,” Aso added. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)