Illustrative image (Photo: mod.go.jp)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a workshop in Hanoi on June 9 to introduce the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), following similar events in Myanmar and Laos.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh highlighted Japan as one of the bloc’s partners that strongly supports the connectivity and establishment of the ASEAN Community.

The relations between ASEAN and Japan have continued to grow extensively and intensively, particularly in the fields of high-level delegation exchanges, economy, trade and investment, he noted.

Japan pledged to further support ASEAN in implementing its initiatives, roadmaps and specific projects to bring practical benefits to locals in the Southeast Asian region, he said.

Assistant to Foreign Minister Vu Quang Minh highly valued Japan’s assistance to ASEAN’s integration efforts over the past years.

He said this support is significant, especially for new members like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, to enhance their capacity in realising action plans, increasing connectivity and integration, coping with challenges and narrowing development gaps with other members in the bloc.

Japan has become the third biggest trade partner and the second largest investor of ASEAN with a total investment of over 193 billion USD in 2015, he noted.

The bilateral cooperation in education, people-to-people exchanges, climate change adaptation as well as in addressing consequences of natural disasters, disease prevention, and navigation cooperation is also thriving, he said.

The workshop is expected to provide Vietnamese ministries and localities with full information on how to build and carry out JAIF cooperation projects.

Ambassador Kazuo Sunaga, head of the Japanese delegation to ASEAN, said Japan hopes to partner with Vietnam to expand the implementation of JAIF projects, especially in promoting economic integration, narrowing the development gap and fighting cross-border crime.

The JAIF was established in March 2006 at the 9th ASEAN-Japan Summit.

To date, the fund has a total value of 630 million USD and has sucessfully carried out 180 projects in natural disaster management, counter-terrorism, economic integration and youth exchanges.-VNA