Vietnam and Japan will strengthen cooperation in bilateral defence and economics, the two countries’ prime ministers said during a meeting in Tokyo on Saturday.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrived in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon, commencing his official visit to the East Asian country at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
The visit came shortly after the Vietnamese leader attended the Group of Seven (G7) Outreach Meeting in Ise-Shima a day earlier.
Following a welcome ceremony, Phuc and Abe sat down for a talk to discuss measures to cement the Japan-Vietnam extensive strategic partnership in the future, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
Deep concerns on East Vietnam Sea
PM Phuc asserted that Japan has always been one of Vietnam’s important and long-term partners. In response, PM Abe said he respected the Japan-Vietnam relationship and hoped that such ties be strengthened and developed further. Abe also expressed his intention to pay a visit to the Southeast Asian country.
The two heads of government reached consensus in boosting mutual political trust by maintaining regular exchanges of high-ranking delegations and meetings on the sideline of international forums, and enhancing the efficiency of bilateral dialogue mechanisms.
Focus will also be directed to reinforcing the two countries’ defence and security cooperation, primarily in dealing with war-aftermath and carrying out the United Nations peacekeeping missions, according to the two premiers.
Addressing international and regional issues of common concern, PM Abe affirmed that Japan would support Vietnam in carrying out preparations for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which is scheduled to take place in the central city of Da Nang. The two officials shared the international community’s deep concerns on the East Vietnam Sea situation and agreed on the importance of preserving peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the maritime area.
Relevant parties are required to not commit in any action that complicates and intensifies disputes and militarization in the seaway and to settle differences with amicable measures, in accordance with international law, namely the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), a the soon establishment of a Code of Conduct in the area.
Boosting economic ties
The two heads of government also discussed practical measures to cement the two nations’ economic cooperation and development.
Japan will continue providing Vietnam with official development assistance (ODA) for improving infrastructure and dealing with consequences brought about by climate change, according to PM Abe.
PM Phuc called for Japan’s support for Vietnam in terms of access to preferential loans from international financial organizations, including those from the World Bank’s International Development Association after 2017.
The two premiers agreed to boost Japan’s investment in Vietnam and to expedite major projects on infrastructure, including the North-South Highway and the Ninh Thuan 2 Nuclear Power Plant, among others.
With regard to climate change, the Japanese PM announced the non-refundable aid worth 300 million JPY (US$2.5 million) to assist Vietnam in dealing with drought and salinitization, asserting that Tokyo would work with Hanoi to figure out temporary and long-term solutions to the issue.
Experts from the Japan International Cooperation agency (JICA) are expected to be dispatched to Vietnam to conduct surveys on water management projects in the drought-hit Ben Tre province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
PM Phuc also met with officials of some Japan’s organizations and businesses on the same day, including Chairman of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Shinichi Kitaoka, Honorary Chairman of the Mitsubishi Group Kojima Yorihiko, and Governor of Aichi Prefecture Hideaki Omura, according to the Vietnam News Agency.