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Prime Ministers meet in Tokyo

Released at: 17:02, 08/10/2018

Prime Ministers meet in Tokyo

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (3rd from left) and PM Shinzo Abe (3rd from right) at the talks in Tokyo on Oct. 8 (Photo: VGP)

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Japan from October 8 to 10.

by Long Van

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held talks in Tokyo on October 8, reaching consensus on various measures to bring the countries’ extensive strategic partnership to a new stage of more comprehensive and substantive development, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

Prime Minister Phuc is on a trip to attend the 10th Mekong - Japan Summit and to visit the country.

The two sides applauded the substantive expansion of their friendship and cooperation in all aspects, such as economy, politics, security and defense, agriculture, and human resources training. They also welcomed the numerous activities held to celebrate the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties this year.

Prime Minister Phuc congratulated Prime Minister Abe on being re-elected President of the Liberal Democratic Party, expressing his belief that under his leadership, Japan will play an increasingly important role in the region and the world and the countries’ relations will be reinforced even more strongly.

On behalf of the Japanese Government and people, the host offered his deepest condolences on the passing of former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Do Muoi and State President Tran Dai Quang. He spoke highly of the two’s contributions to bilateral connections.

The Prime Ministers agreed to continue to enhance political trust by maintaining high-level visits and meetings and to promote substantive security and defense cooperation, particularly in training human resources, transferring defense technology and equipment, military medicine, cyber security, joining UN peacekeeping missions, addressing the consequences of war through clearing unexploded ordnance and supporting dioxin victims in Vietnam, and sharing experience in building policies on sustainable sea-based economic development in Vietnam.

They agreed to push ahead with the countries’ economic connectivity in a mutually beneficial manner. Vietnam and Japan will step up partnerships in support industries, energy, hi-tech agriculture, and high-quality infrastructure. They will create conditions for their fruit, including oranges and apples from Japan and lychees, longans and star apples from Vietnam, to enter each other’s markets.

They also discussed ways to accelerate some ongoing projects.

Prime Minister Abe said the Japanese Government attaches importance to the sustainable development of Vietnam and will make efforts to promote this through ODA and investment projects of Japanese businesses. His country will further assist Vietnam in e-Government building, administrative reforms, and labor productivity improvements, thereby helping it create a favorable investment climate to attract more direct investment from Japan.

Japan will also support Vietnam in improving medical workers’ capacity within the framework of the Asia Health Initiative, he added.

The Prime Ministers welcomed the two countries’ launch of negotiations on a mutual legal assistance agreement on criminal matters and another on the transfer of prisoners.

They also agreed to foster collaboration in healthcare, education, and labor, noting that Japan is ready to receive more Vietnamese practitioners. Prime Minister Phuc asked Japan to consider exempting income and residence taxes on Vietnamese practitioners and create more favorable conditions for granting visas for tourists from Vietnam.

Regarding regional and international issues, the leaders pledged cooperation to ensure the success of the 10th Mekong - Japan Summit and to promote ASEAN - Japan relations when Vietnam serves as the coordinator of ASEAN - Japan ties for 2018-2021.

They affirmed their resolve to push the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) into force at an early date and to step up talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

At the talks, they also exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of shared concern, voicing the support for relevant parties’ efforts to promote peace, stability and denuclearization on the peninsula.

As for the East Sea issue, both reiterated the importance of ensuring security and safety of navigation and aviation, solving all disputes and differences by peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, fully and effectively implementing the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and soon finalizing a substantive, effective and legally binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

In another report on Prime Minister Phuc’s visit to Japan, the State-run news agency quoted figures from the Ministry of Industry and Trade as reporting that as of early October, Vietnam’s total export value to Japan had reached $13.82 billion, up 12.2 per cent over the same period of 2017.

Japan is also one of the four markets to which Vietnam’s export turnover exceeded the $10 billion benchmark. Vietnam has enjoyed a trade surplus of $141 million in two-way trade with Japan so far this year.

Vietnam’s export staples to Japan in the reviewed period were garments and textiles ($537 million), transport vehicles ($365.2 million), and machinery and equipment ($259 million). Main exports to Japan recorded stable growth compared to the same period last year.

The news agency also quoted a survey by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) as finding that up to 70 per cent of asked Japanese enterprises want to invest in Vietnam and 66.6 per cent of Japanese enterprises operating in Vietnam plan to expand their production and business activities.

As of April 2018, Japan had 3,693 valid FDI projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of over $49.8 billion, ranking second among 116 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. This is a positive sign and a foundation to believe that the flow of Japanese direct investment into Vietnam will continue to increase in the years to come.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, as quoted by the news agency, said that Vietnam and Japan need to promote economic cooperation by fostering cooperation in trade and investment and implementing the Japan-Vietnam Economic Partnership Agreement effectively to realize the goal of $60 billion in two-way trade in 2020.

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