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Prof. Carl Thayer: Viet Nam-Japan relations have sound foundation

VGP - Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will be the first foreign head of government to visit Fumio Kishida as Japan’s Prime Minister in Tokyo this week.


November 22, 2021 9:09 AM GMT+7
Prof. Carl Thayer: Viet Nam-Japan relations have sound foundation

This will be an important opportunity for the two leaders to get to know each other and discuss where they would like to take bilateral relations. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary told a press conference that the meeting would “build personal trust” between the two leaders, Australian Professor Carl Thayer told VGP in a recent interview.

Viet Nam-Japan relations have a sound foundation based on an extensive strategic partnership and close personal relations between the former Prime Ministers of Viet Nam and Japan, said Thayer.

Japan accords high-priority in its bilateral relations with Viet Nam and its relations with ASEAN. Prime Minister Pham’s official visit from November 22-25 is significant as both countries are preparing for their post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

The pair’s main topic of discussion would be bilateral economic relations in general and continued Japanese assistance to Viet Nam to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and post-COVID recovery.

Thayer said Viet Nam’s economic recovery is important to Japan as it is a major trading partner and source of foreign investment. A key outcome would be agreement on how Viet Nam can facilitate the operations of Japanese businesses.

In addition, the Viet Nam-Japan Joint Initiative recently moved to its eighth phase. Three new group of issues were added to the current agenda of eleven groups in response to disruption of supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The two Prime Ministers likely will discuss what steps to take in (1) developing supporting industry to restore reliable supply chains, (2) innovation and (3) development of highly skilled human resources.

In November, Japan will slowly open its doors for the return of Vietnamese guest workers and apprentices. Prime Minister Pham will be keen to learn what steps his counterpart proposes to take.

Japan is the largest provider overseas development assistance to Viet Nam. It is likely Viet Nam will indicate its priority needs and solicit Japanese assistance, such as support for strategic infrastructure, green growth, and digital transformation.

The two Prime Ministers will discuss coordination of their foreign policies. Pham likely will brief Kishida on what initiatives Viet Nam will take to facilitate ASEAN-Japan relations, including how to restore regional supply chains disrupted by COVID-19.

Finally, the two leaders are likely to discuss a range of international and regional issues such as denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the crisis in Myanmar and peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.

They will also support the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea on the basis of international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They will also call for the full implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea./.

By Quang Minh