Presidential visit to Japan - a milestone in bilateral ties

(VOV) - The recent visit to Japan by State President Truong Tan Sang is an important landmark signifying a new chapter in bilateral relations, says Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

In an interview granted to the media on March 20, Minh said both Vietnam and Japan had made thorough preparations for and expected a lot from the visit.

President Sang made a keynote speech at the Japanese Diet and held high-level talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders released a joint statement on establishing an extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia.

Both sides agreed to maintain regular high-level exchange visits and increase cooperation in security, national defence, judicial reform, economics, trade, and investment.

Shinzo Abe confirmed Vietnam is an important partner in Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) policy.

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Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the President's Japan visit was a great success as both countries upgraded their relations to an extensive strategic partnership level

Japan committed JPY120 billion in preferential credits to Vietnam’s five infrastructure construction projects in its 2012 fiscal year (second phase).

Minh emphasised agriculture is a key pillar in bilateral cooperation. Vietnam and Japan agreed to establish a joint working group on agricultural cooperation that is due to convene its first meeting in Vietnam this year to draw up long-term cooperation plans.

Vietnam and Japan also signed a number of cooperation agreements in other areas such as human resource training, science-technology, and health care.

Japan pledged to upgrade key universities and vocational schools to international standard, enhance the capacity building of Vietnamese sci-tech organisations, recruit more Vietnamese orderlies, and receive more interns.

Both sides will increase cultural and sport exchanges to promote mutual friendship and understanding. Japan revealed it is considering simplifying visa procedures for Vietnamese ordinary passport holders.

They highlighted the importance of ensuring peace, stability and development in the region, including maritime and aviation security and freedom, in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Future orientations

Deputy PM Minh said Japan is one of Vietnam’s leading strategic and economic partners, and strengthening cooperation with Japan is crucial to meeting Vietnam’s long-term goal of becoming a modern, industrial nation by 2020.

Bilateral cooperation in economics and trade will form the core of bilateral ties on the back of their growing political trust.

According to the Deputy PM, cooperation with Japan through official development assistance (ODA), foreign direct investment (FDI) and public-private partnership (PPP) is vital to Vietnam’s infrastructure and energy development.

To this end, the two countries will accelerate collaborative large-scale projects on north-south expressway, north-south railway line, Hoa Lack high-tech park, and Lach Huyen port.

They will strive to double their two-way trade value from the current US$25 billion ahead of 2020 through effectively implementing the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA), and facilitating Vietnamese goods’ access to the Japanese market.

In addition, Vietnam attaches great importance to cooperation with Japan in realising its industrialisation strategy. It is working closely with Japan to finalise the drafting of the strategy, targeting six key industrial areas.

Minh reiterated that with the upgrade of bilateral relations to an extensive strategic partnership, President Sang’s visit to Japan was a great success, ushering in a new era of comprehensive cooperation.