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Vietnam & Japan agree to continue strengthening political trust

Released at: 22:00, 16/01/2017

Vietnam & Japan agree to continue strengthening political trust

Photo:VGP

Japan committed an additional $1.05 billion in ODA for Vietnam.

by QuocUy

The Prime Ministers of Vietnam and Japan have reached high consensus on major orientations and specific measures to push forward the comprehensive, practical and effective development of the extensive strategic partnership between the two countries. 

According to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), during their talks  in Hanoi on January 16, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed the visiting Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe,   as the first foreign high-ranking leader to visit Vietnam this year and reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of considering Japan its leading and long-term partner. 

The two PMs agreed to continue strengthening political trust via maintaining high-level visits and meetings, and increasing the efficiency of dialogue mechanisms. 

They committed to closely working together for the upcoming Vietnam visit by the Japanese Emperor and Empress. The Japanese PM wished to welcome his Vietnamese counterpart to Japan this summer and promised to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang later this year.

Host and guest consented to enhance practical collaboration in national defence-security, including bomb and mine clearance and improvement of law enforcement at sea. 

On the economic front, the two sides reached consensus on boosting economic connectivity via promotion of trade, investment promotion, official development assistance (ODA) and cooperation in supplementary fields such as agriculture and labour. 

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked Japan to continue providing Vietnam with ODA in the near future, with a focus on infrastructure building, human resources training and climate change response. 

Abe, for his part, committed an additional 1.05 billion USD in ODA for Vietnam in the 2016 fiscal year in the fields of maritime security, climate change response, water drainage and waste treatment. 

Japan is ready to boost hi-tech application and investment by raising capital from State-owned enterprises and personnel training while facilitating Vietnamese tourist arrivals in Japan and cultural exchanges, he said. 

Both sides vowed to realise Vietnam’s industrialisation strategy within the framework of the Vietnam-Japan cooperation until 2020 with a vision till 2030 and the sixth stage of the Japan-Vietnam joint initiative to improve Vietnam’s business climate, as well as continue major infrastructure projects such as the north-south highway in Vietnam. 

They lauded the talks between Vietnamese local authorities and Japanese corporate executives during the visit, believing that it affords a chance for them to further intensify investment ties in the future. 

The two leaders also agreed to boost bilateral ties across hi-tech agriculture, high-quality human resources training and cooperation between localities, as well as increase the number of Vietnamese trainees to Japan. 

PM  Abe announced that Japan will allow the import of Vietnam’s red-fleshed dragon fruit and PM Phuc also declared that Vietnam will license the import of Japan’s pear fruit. 

On regional and global issues of shared concern, the two PMs vowed mutual support at regional and global forums such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the United Nations. 

The Japanese leader affirmed that he will work to help Vietnam successfully host the APEC Year 2017. 

The two PMs underscored the importance of ensuring peace, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea, urging parties concerned to refrain from actions that cause tension and militarisation resulting in changing the status quo in the waters, promote the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. The sides should fully respect diplomatic and legal processes, not to use force or threat to use force, seriously abide by international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), towards promptly reaching a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). 

Following the talks, the two PMs witnessed the signing of agreements between ministries, agencies and businesses.

Vietnam and Japan established diplomatic ties in 1973. The two countries upgraded relations to a strategic partnership in 2009, and to an extensive strategic partnership in 2014.

In recent years, high-ranking visits and meetings of the two countries’ senior officials were maintained regularly, many of which took place on the sidelines of regional and international forums.

The two sides set up several dialogue mechanisms including: the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee, the Vietnam-Japan Strategic Partnership Dialogue for foreign affairs – security- defence at the deputy foreign ministerial-level ; the Vietnam-Japan Defence Policy Dialogue at the deputy ministerial-level; the Vietnam-Japan Security Dialogue at the deputy ministerial-level. 

They have also supported each other at multilateral forums such as the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Asia-Europe Meeting, among others. 

Regarding East Sea-related issues, Japan has highlighted the need to ensure security, safety, and aviation and navigation freedom in the sea. The country has espoused the  view that all disputes in the East Sea should  be solved via peaceful means without using force, in line with international law, and  the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and on the basis of respect for the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea. Japan also urged for the early adoption of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea. 

Japan has become one of Vietnam’s leading economic partners. It was the first G7 member country to recognise Vietnam’s market economy.

The two sides signed an investment agreement in 2004 and the Vietnam-Japan economic partnership agreement in 2007, facilitating economic and trade links between the two nations. 

Japan is also supporting Vietnam in developing industries under the Vietnam-Japan cooperation framework. 

Japan is now the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam, with two-way trade hitting  over 28.5  billion USD in 2015 (up 3.3 percent against 2014) and about 26.8 billion USD in the first 11 months of 2016.

The country ranks second among 112 countries and territories worldwide investing in Vietnam, with 3,242 direct investment projects worth over 42 billion USD as of November 20, 2016.

Japan remains the largest provider of official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam, making up about 30 percent of total ODA committed to the Southeast Asian country. From 1992 to March 31, 2016, Japan committed about 29.5 billion USD for Vietnam. In the 2015 fiscal year, Japan pledged to provide Vietnam with 2.5 billion USD in ODA – the highest amount ever. 

In the State visit to Japan by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2015, the two sides signed a “Medium and long-term vision on agricultural cooperation”.

Vietnam and Japan also recorded stronger connections in fighting climate change as  Japan has provided ODA for Vietnam’s climate change adaptation projects. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo  Abe stated that Japan will grant non-refundable assistance worth 2.5 million USD to Vietnam to tackle saline intrusion and drought. 

In labour cooperation, over 45,000 Vietnamese guest workers and trainees work in Japan, mainly in industry and agriculture. The two sides agreed that Japan will receive Vietnamese health-care givers and nurses to work in the country. 

Japan is one of the largest providers of non-refundable aid for Vietnam’s education sector and the two sides inked many cooperation agreements in this field. As of April 2016, nearly 39,000 Vietnamese students studied in Japan. Japan is helping Vietnam train high-quality human resources in sci-technology, management and service, and arranged Japanese-language teaching in high schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 

In 2016, about 740,592 Japanese tourists visited Vietnam, up 10.3 percent against 2014, while the number of Vietnamese visitors to Japan reached 220,700 in the first 11 months of 2016. 

Links between localities of the two countries have been enhanced as well. Many pairs of localities signed cooperation including Ho Chi Minh City-Yokohama; Da Nang- Sakai; Hanoi-Fukuoka; Da Nang- Yokohama; Dong Nai-Hyogo; Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Kawasaki; Phu Tho-Nara, Thua Thien-Hue and Kyoto; Hai Phong- Niigata, among others. 

 

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