Oct 19, 2020 / 13:19

Vietnam plays vital role in Japan’s Indo-Pacific policy: PM Suga

The Hanoitimes - The Japanese and Vietnamese prime ministers affirmed their cooperation on security issues including tensions in the South China Sea and the threat posed by North Korea.

Vietnam is an important partner of Japan and plays a vital role in Japan’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy, Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has said in Hanoi in his first foreign travel after taking office last month.

 Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide shake hands before starting talks in Hanoi on October 19, 2020. Photo: Minh Tuan

“Japan is an Indo-Pacific nation and will continue contributing to peace and prosperity in the region,” Mr. Suga said at a press briefing after holding talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 19.

“I have chosen Vietnam because Vietnam is the most suitable place for me to send this message for the first time to the world,” the Japanese PM stressed. 

Mr. Suga’s predecessor, Abe Shinzo, spent tireless efforts to promote a “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy and Mr. Suga has vowed to uphold this policy. 

The two PM affirmed their cooperation on security issues including tensions in the South China Sea and the threat posed by North Korea, Mr. Suga said in the joint press briefing.

The two sides also reached an agreement on transfer of military equipment and technologies. “I believe that defense and security cooperation between the two countries will continue to move forward,” Mr. Suga noted. 

Mr. Suga said the Japanese government has decided to provide Vietnam with equipment and materials for Vietnam to mitigate damages caused by heavy rains and serious flooding in central Vietnam, which have left 84 deaths as of October 18. 

To recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the two governments have reached an agreement on procedures for business trip and resume two-way international air services. 

 Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide at the joint press briefing in Hanoi on October 19, 2020. Photo: Minh Tuan

For his part, Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the two governments committed to enhance bilateral economic links, promoting investment, trade, agriculture, and human resources. Vietnam has readied land, human resources, environment and policies to support Japanese to do business successfully in Vietnam. 

The two sides also committed to strengthen cooperation at international multilateral forums. As ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam welcomes Japan’s to play the role of a major power and make further contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in the regional and the world, PM Phuc said. 

The two PMs reaffirmed the importance of ensuring peace, security, safety, freedom of navigation and flight in the South China Sea, resolving conflicts with peaceful means, and upholding international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Japan’s newly-installed PM will leave Vietnam on October 20 to visit Indonesia, a major Southeast Asian country.