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PM Suga's Viet Nam visit demonstrates continuity in Japan’s relations with Southeast Asia, expert says

VGP - Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announced his plan to visit Viet Nam and Indonesia next week on his first trip abroad since assuming his post.

October 13, 2020 8:10 PM GMT+7

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide. Credit: Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

     >>> PM Phuc holds talks with Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide

Suga made the announcement at an executive meeting of Japan’s main governing Liberal Democratic Party on October 13.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc invited his Japanese counterpart Suga Yoshihide to visit Viet Nam at convenient time, during their phone conversation on Monday.

Phuc affirmed Viet Nam always regards Japan as a top and long-lasting strategic partner and wishes to continue working with the Northeast Asia country to further boost bilateral cooperation and coordination over regional and international issues of shared concerns for mutual benefits and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

The Vietnamese Government chief also thanked Japan for having offered valuable assistance for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping that both countries would continue cooperation and mutual assistance to overcome the pandemic.

If the visit is made, Suga will be the second consecutive Prime Minister of Japan to choose Viet Nam for the first foreign trip. His predecessor, Abe Shinzo, also chose Viet Nam as the first country to visit when he began second office term in December 2012.

Abe once told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that Viet Nam is a “loyal friend”, thus he chose Viet Nam for his first overseas trip in 2012, according to former Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong.

Cuong expressed his belief that the upcoming visit indicates that Prime Minister Suga attaches importance to the role and position of Viet Nam in the region and the world, especially when Viet Nam is the current ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Meanwhile, Carlyle Thayer, an Australian professor said Prime Minister’s prospective visits to Viet Nam and Indonesia are to demonstrate the continuity in Japan’s relations with the Southeast Asia and give assurance to Suga’s continued support for former Prime Minister Abe’s free and open Indo-Pacific.

Suga’s visit to the two countries is also recognition of their international and regional roles. Viet Nam is the current Chair of ASEAN and will continue next year as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council while Indonesia is a member of the Group of 20 and its terms on the Security Council is about to end, the Australian professor added./.

By Quang Minh