Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga during a press briefing on September 16 in Tokyo. — AFP/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Newly-elected Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga will pay an official visit to Việt Nam, his first overseas trip since assuming office in September, the Vietnamese foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday.
The foreign ministry, however, has not confirmed a specific date for the trip but added that some details of the Japanese leader’s schedule will be available later on Friday after the two governments’ finalisation of the agenda.
Reports from Japan suggested October 18-21 are the likely dates of the visit.
Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, also chose Việt Nam as his first foreign trip in 2013 after being re-elected to the post in December 2012.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng said during a press briefing in Hà Nội on Thursday that the visit took place as bilateral relations are “blooming,” and that the visit is a “vivid, robust testament” to the partnership.
In addition to talks with Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, PM Suga will pay courtesy visits to Vietnamese leaders, as well as carry out a range of other activities, Hằng said.
Việt Nam and Japan established formal diplomatic relations in 1973.
Japan is currently the fourth-largest provider of official development aid to Việt Nam, the second-biggest investor and fourth-largest trade partner of Việt Nam.
PM Suga’s visit is expected to boost ties with Việt Nam as the two discuss measures to foster co-operation in a wide range of areas, along with other regional and international issues, Hằng said.
“We believe the visit will be successful and make meaningful contributions to the promotion of the two countries’ extensive strategic partnership, as well as the two sides’ post-COVID-19 socio-economic recovery and development,” Hằng continued.
On foreign media reports of a possible agreement in which Japan would export defence equipment and technology to Việt Nam, the foreign ministry spokesperson said they have not had information regarding such matter yet, but noted that defence co-operation will be discussed during PM Phúc and Suga’s talks.
The focus is to booster substantive co-operation in terms of defence, better implement cooperative items in peacekeeping missions and to increase co-operation within multilateral frameworks, spokesperson Hằng said.
“It should be noted that Việt Nam consistently follows the defence policy of peace and self-defence,” she added.
Previously in a meeting with Japan’s ruling party Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday, Suga described the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the key to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and said the country wants to play a role in the maintenance of peace and fostering of prosperity in the region. — VNS