President Trần Đại Quang expressed the belief in an interview granted to Japanese media, including the NHK broadcasting organisation, Kyodo News, Jiji Press and Nikkei newspaper in Hà Nội ahead of his State-level visit to Japan from May 29 to June 2.– VNA/VNS Photo Lâm Khánh
HÀ NỘI – The strategic partnership between Việt Nam and Japan is expected to enter a new period of development, especially in the fields of trade, economy, defence-security, health, high technology, locality-to-locality co-operation, and people-to-people exchanges.
President Trần Đại Quang expressed the belief in an interview granted to Japanese media, including the NHK broadcasting organisation, Kyodo News, Jiji Press and Nikkei newspaper in Hà Nội ahead of his State-level visit to Japan from May 29 to June 2.
The President said he was glad to lead a high-level Vietnamese delegation to Japan on the occasion of the 45th founding anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
The visit is expected to take the bilateral extensive strategic partnership into a new period of development, contributing to prosperity in each country and to peace, co-operation and development in Asia and beyond, he said.
President Quang said during the visit, the first State-level trip to Japan made by Quang as President of Việt Nam, he is scheduled to meet the Japanese Emperor and Empress and hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He will also have meetings with top Japanese legislators, politicians, economists, scientists and cultural workers to discuss directions and major measures to increase political trust and boost co-operation in trade, investment, development co-operation, defence, security, culture, and people-to-people exchanges.
He added that the two sides will talk about coordination at regional and international forums and issues of mutual concern, especially as Việt Nam will be the coordinating country for ASEAN-Japan relations in 2018-21.
The Vietnamese President highlighted Việt Nam and Japan’s long-standing connections in history, culture and trade, which date back to the 15th century when the trade port of Hội An in Việt Nam welcomed the first Japanese merchant ships. The Japanese street in Hội An was then a major trading hub connecting Japan with other countries in Southeast Asia.
After the establishment of diplomatic ties in September 1973, the bilateral friendship and cooperation have developed strongly in all realms, especially after the elevation of ties to an extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in March 2014, President Quang said.
Politically, the two countries have reached mutual trust through regular meetings of high-ranking officials. In 2017 alone there were five high-level visits between the two countries, including the first historical visit to Việt Nam by the Japanese Emperor and Empress. The same year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Việt Nam twice while Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan Oshima Tadamori visited Việt Nam after 15 years. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also paid an official visit to Japan in June.
Economically, Japan is a leading partner of Việt Nam, the largest provider of official development assistance (ODA), and the fourth biggest trade partner of Việt Nam.
Last year, Japan became the top foreign investor in Việt Nam with record investment capital of over US$9.1 billion, four times the figure in 2016.
At present, more than 2,500 Japanese businesses, including most major corporations of Japan, are investing in Việt Nam.
Japan’s ODA capital has been effectively used in building infrastructure, developing high technology, clean agriculture, climate change adaptation, and poverty reduction, which makes significant contributions to Việt Nam’s socio-economic development.
Bilateral co-operation in other fields such as defence, security, culture, education-training, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges has been continuously reinforced and expanded.
Thirty-seven pairs of localities of Việt Nam and Japan have signed co-operation agreements.
In 2017, Japan ranked third in the number of tourists to Việt Nam. The Vietnamese culture festival in Japan and the cherry blossom festival in Việt Nam have become much-awaited annual events for the two peoples.
Việt Nam and Japan also closely cooperate at regional and international forums such as the United Nations, ASEAN+, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
Particularly, the two countries worked together for the success of the APEC Year 2017 in Việt Nam, the 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Đà Nẵng, and jointly pushed ahead negotiations to reach the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
According to the President, the thriving economic ties between Việt Nam and Japan have brought about practical benefits to people of the two countries.
To better utilise the potential and strengths of each other, the two sides should enhance economic connectivity through promoting trade and investment, and work together to effectively implement the Việt Nam-Japan economic partnership agreement, he said.
The leader called for joint efforts to double trade and investment value in 2020 as compared with 2014, facilitate the market access of each other’s farm produce and seafood and effectively implement the Việt Nam-Japan Joint Initiative in order to improve the investment environment and promote Japanese investment inflows in Việt Nam, especially in high-tech, infrastructure and energy sectors, thus maintaining Japan’s position as the No 1 foreign investor in Việt Nam.
He said the two countries should collaborate in realising action plans for the six key industries selected under Việt Nam’s industrialisation strategy within the Việt Nam-Japan co-operation framework by 2020 with a vision towards 2030, which are automobile and auto spare parts, farming machines, agro-fishery product processing, shipbuilding, electronics, environmental industry and energy saving.
Việt Nam also hopes for Japan’s active co-operation in developing the support industry in the country, President Quang said, calling on the country to maintain its official development assistance to Việt Nam, particularly in infrastructure construction, high-quality human resources development, climate change response, environmental protection, economic management capacity improvement, the implementation of large-scale projects, economic reform and sustainable development.
“We hope that Japan considers Việt Nam a priority partner of the ‘Partnership for Quality Infrastructure’ programme worth $200 billion and the Mekong-Japan Connectivity Initiative worth $6.8 billion,” he said.
Việt Nam also looks for enhanced partnerships with Japan in the areas of the two countries’ demands and potential like high-tech agriculture, health care, culture, education and cooperation between localities.
President Quang said along with the sound development of the bilateral relationship, Việt Nam –Japan co-operation at regional and international forums, especially in major cooperative mechanisms like the UN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and ASEAN Plus has been tightened, significantly contributing to peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region and the world at large.
The two sides have actively promoted trade liberalisation, while closely coordinating with each other to push ahead the negotiations and signing of the CPTPP agreement, and negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Việt Nam supports Japan in playing an active role and contributing to regional peace, stability and development, he said.
He noted that the two sides have regularly discussed regional and international issues of shared concern and supported each other’s bids to run for seats at UN agencies and other international organisations.
The two countries have also shared viewpoints and coordinated to help address issues relating to co-operation, development and security in the region, including the East Sea issue, denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula and the Indo-Pacific initiative.
Both sides stressed the significance of ensuring peace, security, safety and freedom of aviation and navigation in the East Sea, resolving disputes by peaceful measures and in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in 2002 and working towards a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
As the coordinating country for the ASEAN-Japan relationship from August 2018-August 2021, Việt Nam hopes that the two countries will continue to cooperate at regional and international forums, especially within the ASEAN-Japan co-operation framework, further contributing to peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region and the world as well, the leader noted.
The CPTPP, signed by 11 countries in Santiago, Chile on March 8 this year, delivers a common message of the member states who support regional economic linkage, President Quang said, adding that free trade and economic integration will continue to be a mainstream trend in Asia-Pacific.
He said Việt Nam’s joining the CPTPP reflects the country’s strong and consistent commitment to continued renovation, deep economic integration, participation in forming cooperative mechanisms and economic linkages, and contributions to regional and global peace, cooperation and development. As a new-generation and comprehensive deal, the pact will provide a new driving force for Việt Nam in restructuring its economy, expanding exports and luring more high-tech investments, he noted.
The President said Việt Nam and other CPTPP members welcome other countries to join the CPTPP and the extension of the participation will be considered after the deal enters into force.
He added that Việt Nam needs technical support from Japan to fully and effectively carry out the deal.
On measures to foster bilateral co-operation in the fields of people-to-people exchanges, President Quang said that as the numbers of Vietnamese and Japanese visiting other countries are increasing rapidly, the two countries should pay due attention to communication activities on each other’s culture and regulations.
Currently, there are some 250,000 Vietnamese people in Japan, triple the number from five years ago. Of the figure, 200,000 are apprentices and students. Meanwhile, there are some 16,000 Japanese working and running businesses in Việt Nam.
Japan is the third largest source of tourists to Việt Nam with 800,000 arrivals in 2017. In addition, Japan also welcomed more than 300,000 Vietnamese during the year.
People-to-people exchanges have deepened mutual understanding and trust, laying a firm foundation for the Việt Nam-Japan friendship to grow in the future.
“I believe that with concerted efforts from both nations, the Vietnamese community in Japan and the Japanese community in Việt Nam will continue to be a bridge for the Việt Nam-Japan friendship for benefits of the two peoples, and for regional and global peace, stability and prosperity,” President Quang said at the end of the interview. — VNS