Vietnam and Japan on Sunday jointly inked three agreements, valued at 61 billion yen (US$442.5 million), to fund new-generation official development assistance (ODA) projects in Vietnam.
Of the total, 50 billion yen ($362 million) will be poured into a new-generation ODA program on post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and development.
The rest will finance a project improving the public transportation system in southern Binh Duong Province and another one enhancing the infrastructure system for agricultural development in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
The signing of these ODA deals was witnessed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio during the former’s trip to Japan for attending an expanded summit of Group of Seven (G7) nations, which took place from May 19 to 21.
After the signing ceremony for the agreements, PM Chinh held talks with his Japanese counterpart.
This is the first Vietnam-Japan high-level dialogue to take place in Hiroshima, the hometown of PM Kishida, and the fifth between the two PMs over the past year.
The Vietnamese government leader congratulated PM Kishida and host Japan on successfully organizing the G7 summit and its expanded sessions.
PM Chinh also spoke highly of the coordinating role Japan plays in coping with global challenges such as food security and gas emission reduction.
PM Kishida lauded the active and effective participation in and contribution of the Vietnamese delegation to the success of the G7 summit and asserted that Vietnam occupies a leading position in the deployment of Japan’s foreign policy in the region.
The two PMs agreed to enhance political trust by promoting high-level visits in 2023 when Vietnam and Japan celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties.
In addition, both sides agreed to bolster national defense and security cooperation in war remediation, human resources training, technology transfer, and cybersecurity.
The two Cabinet leaders highly appreciated the completion of capital commitment procedures for the $362-million new-generation ODA program on post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and development in Vietnam.
They will ask relevant agencies to discuss Japan’s possibility of offering new-generation ODA loans with more incentives and simplified procedures to major infrastructure projects in Vietnam, such as a North-South high-speed railway, metro lines, and others related to climate change adaptation, digital transformation, green transition, and healthcare.
They affirmed they will direct ministries and relevant units of the two countries to facilitate some ODA projects such as Cho Ray 2 Hospital and the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien metro line in Ho Chi Minh City.
As for the Nghi Son oil refinery project in Thanh Hoa Province, north-central Vietnam, PM Chinh requested the two nations’ businesses to actively work together to remove obstacles hindering the project.
|Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L, 1st) and his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio (R, 1st) witness the signing of three ODA agreements between Vietnam and Japan in Hiroshima, Japan, May 21, 2023. Photo: Duong Giang / Tuoi Tre|
Promoting new wave of Japanese investment into Vietnam
The head of the Vietnamese government suggested both sides jointly promote a new wave of Japanese investment into Vietnam in such fields as hi-tech industry and energy transition to enable the Southeast Asian nation to deeply join the global and Japanese supply chains.
PM Chinh suggested the Japanese government create optimal conditions and offer streamlined visa processing and later visa waivers to Vietnamese citizens to promote tourism cooperation between the two countries, in addition to offering favorable conditions to nearly 500,000 Vietnamese citizens who are working and studying in Japan.
Further, both sides agreed to coordinate their positions on issues of mutual concern at multilateral and regional forums including ASEAN, the UN, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
PM Kishida took the occasion to invite his Vietnamese counterpart to revisit Japan to attend the ASEAN-Japan Summit scheduled for December this year.
As for issues linked to the East Vietnam Sea, the two leaders underlined the importance of ensuring navigation and aviation security and safety, settling all disputes and differences by peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), and completing a Code of Conduct (COC) for the maritime area in an effective manner.
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