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Vietnam, Japan upgrade ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam and Japan today, November 27, issued a joint statement announcing the elevation of their bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.

Japan is the 6th country with which Vietnam has established a comprehensive strategic partnership, after China, Russia, South Korea, India and most recently, the United States.

The upgrade of ties between the two countries comes as President of Vietnam Vo Van Thuong and his spouse are paying an official visit to Japan from November 27 to 30, reported the local media.

It also coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations (September 21, 1973 – September 21, 2023).

The joint statement on the elevation of the Japan-Vietnam relations to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia and the World” was adopted at the summit meeting today between President Thuong and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

The upgrade of ties affirms the two countries’ endeavors to bring their current cooperation in all areas to new heights and to further expand it to new fronts, according to the joint statement.

“The two leaders highly valued the impressive and comprehensive growth of the friendship and cooperation between Japan and Vietnam since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973, and particularly since the elevation of bilateral ties to the Extensive Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in Asia in 2014,” said the statement.

They shared the view that the two nations have become important economic partners and that Japan has become Vietnam’s largest provider of official development assistance (ODA), the second-largest partner in labor cooperation, the third in investment and tourism, and the fourth in trade.

Japan’s ODA to Vietnam has made significant contributions to Vietnam’s socio-economic development for more than 30 years.

President Thuong highly valued Japan’s active contributions, which include ODA and investments by Japanese companies, to Vietnam’s development, saying Japan will continue to be a leading economic partner of Vietnam.

PM Kishida reaffirmed its continued support for Vietnam to develop an independent and self-reliant economy that deeply engages in international integration, and to boost industrialization and modernization with the goal of becoming a developed country by 2045.

The two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation, reinvigorate Japan’s ODA, and promote large-scale quality infrastructure development projects in Vietnam.

They welcome the prospect that the actual amount of yen loans in this fiscal year of Japan could exceed 100 billion yen (US$672 million) for the first time since the Japanese fiscal year 2017.

They expressed their concerns on the situation in the East Sea and reiterated the importance of refraining from any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion and escalate tensions. They affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful economic activities in the East Sea, exercising self-restraint and resolving disputes peacefully in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while reaffirming that UNCLOS is the most comprehensive international legal basis for the maritime domain.

The two leaders also emphasized the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in its entirety and acknowledged the progress in the negotiations for the Code of Conduct (COC). They also emphasized the importance of an effective and substantive COC in accordance with international law, in particular UNCLOS, and which does not prejudice the rights of all stakeholders.

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