Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc lauded the role of Japan in boosting cooperation and development in the Mekong region during an interview granted to Japanese media on the occasion of his visit to Japan and participation in the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting in the country from October 8-10.— VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc lauded the role of Japan in boosting cooperation and development in the Mekong region during an interview granted to Japanese media on the occasion of his visit to Japan and participation in the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting in the country from October 8-10.
The PM noted that Mekong countries have gained important socio-economic achievements, making the region one of the fastest growing areas in the world. During this process, the support of developing partners, including Japan, is significant, he said.
The partnership between Japan and the Mekong region has been realised through both bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in various fields such as politics, diplomacy, economy, trade, education, healthcare, environment, and tourism.
Japan is one of the Mekong region’s leading trade and investment partners and ODA provider.
In the Mekong-Japan cooperation framework, hundreds of projects worth dozens of billions of dollars have been successfully implemented, helping regional countries develop transport and industrial infrastructure, train human resources, improve the investment and business environment, protect the environment, respond to climate change, narrow the development gap and reduce poverty, he said.
The PM added that Japan has also supported the building and development of intra-Mekong economic corridors such as the East-West and Southern Economic Corridors.
The Vietnamese Government leader held that cooperation potential between Japan and Mekong countries is huge. He expressed his hope that Japan will continue promoting its role as a partner for “high quality development” in the Mekong region through making full use of the country’s strengths in technology and finance and the Mekong region’s growth speed, market and labour.
In the future, the Mekong-Japan partnership should prioritise three pillars of transport infrastructure, energy; soft infrastructure such as institutions, trade, investment and people connection; and people-to-people contacts.
The two sides should focus on realising a joint vision on a green Mekong through projects and programmes on sustainable management and use of Mekong River water resources, smart agriculture and climate change response, he said.
The PM asserted that the upcoming 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting will open up a new chapter in the bilateral partnership, matching the growth of ties to the potential and demand of both sides.
Regarding the Việt Nam-Japan collaboration over the past 45 years, he highlighted that the two countries have become important partners with many shared strategic interests.
Bilateral ties, which were lifted to an extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in 2014, have grown strongly in all fields with closer economic connectivity and strengthened political trust.
Japan has been the biggest ODA provider to Việt Nam and the country’s fourth largest trade partner. In 2017, Japan became the top foreign investor in Việt Nam with total investment of US$9.1 billion, four times higher than that in 2016, he noted, emphasising the great economic support between the two countries.
Defence, security, culture, education-training and tourism collaboration and people-to-people exchange between the two countries have also been expanded.
Currently, more than 260,000 Vietnamese people are living, studying and working in Japan, becoming the fifth largest foreign community in Japan. As many as 37 pairs of localities of both sides have set up partnerships. Last year, Japan ranked third in the number of tourists to Việt Nam with 800,000, while 300,000 Vietnamese travelled to Japan.
The two countries have also collaborated closely at international and regional forums such as the United Nations, ASEAN Plus, APEC, and ASEM. They coordinated in promoting negotiations for and signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), while backing each other to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The PM said that he believes that the Việt Nam-Japan partnership will enter a new period of development and become more effective, stable and extensive.
Việt Nam welcomes Japanese firms to invest in areas of Japan’s strengths such as high technology, infrastructure building, smart cities, supporting industry, hi-tech agriculture, business restructuring, and green and renewable energy, as well as prioritised areas in Việt Nam’s industrialisation strategy, stated the PM.
He underlined that the joining of the CPTPP showed Việt Nam’s strong commitments to continued reform, regional and international integration, and active engagement in sharing regional economic cooperation and connection frameworks, while opening up great chances for economic-trade cooperation with many important partners, including Japan.
Việt Nam is striving to become one of the first six countries to ratify the deal, he said, revealing that the National Assembly will consider approving the agreement at its sixth session in October and November this year. Việt Nam welcomes the expansion of the deal, he added.
Regarding the East Sea issue, he said countries in and outside the region have implemented bilateral and multilateral cooperation activities in various fields in order to maintain peace and stability in the area, adding that relevant countries have also worked together to seek peaceful measures to deal with disputes and differences.
However, the East Sea situation has witnessed many complicated developments, worrying the international community and requiring all parties to strictly abide by international law, show willingness, exercise restraint, and not to conduct any actions that make the situation more complicated. All parties should fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) toward the early signing of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he said.
PM Phúc stressed that Việt Nam shares the viewpoint of ASEAN and the international community on peacefully dealing with disputes in the East Sea in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, ensuring peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the sea.
He voiced his hope that Japan will continue demonstrating its responsibility and role, together with the international community, to support and contribute to ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, thus bringing prosperity to the East Sea and the whole Asia-Pacific region in general.
PM Phúc arrived in Tokyo yesterday.
He was welcomed by Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Norikazu Suzuki, Japanese Ambassador to Việt Nam Kunio Umeda, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyễn Quốc Cường, staff of the Vietnamese Embassy, and representatives from the Vietnamese community in the East Asian country.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will host a grand welcome ceremony for the Vietnamese Government leader on Monday. They will then hold talks and witness the signing of important cooperation agreements.
PM Phúc will receive Chairman of the Japan-Việt Nam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance Nikai Toshihiro, and visit the Vietnamese Embassy in Tokyo.
He will attend the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting and the Mekong-Japan investment forum, as well as meet the Japanese Emperor and leaders of the National Diet.
During his stay, the PM will have several meetings with Japanese investors, work with the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), hold talks with Japanese property companies, and attend a Việt Nam investment promotion forum with 1,000 business representatives expected to be present. — VNS