Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The eighth meeting of the Vietnam – Japan Cooperation Committee took place in Hanoi on May 6 under the co-chair of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

The two sides agreed to enhance political trust through regular high-ranking visits and meetings at all levels. They reached consensus on stronger cooperation in such domains as economy, trade, investment, education and health care.

Accordingly, Japan will continue promoting investment in Vietnam through phase VI of the Vietnam – Japan Joint Initiative in 2016. It is determined to effectively implement big projects, including the North – South expressway, the Ninh Thuan 2 nuclear power plant, and the industrialisation strategy in the Southeast Asian nation.

The officials also agreed that Japan will consider support to Vietnam in building a fundamental and long-term response plan for drought and saline intrusion, which are devastating the central and southern regions.

Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Minh asked Japan to facilitate the granting of visas for Vietnamese citizens.

At a press conference following the meeting, Minh underscored that Japan remains a leading and long-term partner in his country’s foreign policy after the recent 12th National Party Congress.

He appreciated the Japanese Government’s provision of 2.5 billion USD in ODA loans in the fiscal year 2015, while proposing the continuation of ODA funding at a high level.

He voiced the belief that the meeting’s outcomes will practically contribute to the intensive and extensive comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations.

For his part, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida pledged that Japan will strongly assist Vietnam in socio-economic development through providing ODA in high-quality infrastructure building, competitiveness improvement, manpower training and climate change response.

Japan will cooperate with Vietnam during the implementation of a credit package worth 110 billion JPY (nearly 1.03 billion USD) that helps Asian countries develop high-quality infrastructure, along with the funding of 750 billion JPY (7.01 billion USD) under the Japan – Mekong Connectivity Initiative, launched on May 2, Kishida added.

The two officials also announced that they discussed regional and international matters of mutual interest, including the recent situation in the East Sea.

They shared the view that the concerned parties in the East Sea must strive to ensure peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the waters. They should settle disputes by peaceful means, adhere to international law, and not conduct actions that change the status quo, complicate and expand disputes, or increase militarisation in the East Sea.

At the end of the cooperation committee’s meeting, the two sides inked a diplomatic note on the Japanese Government’s provision of a 20.97 billion JPY (196 million USD) ODA loan in the fiscal year 2015 for phase II of the water environment improvement project in Ho Chi Minh City.

The document also includes the Japanese Government’s non-refundable aid worth 500 million JPY (4.67 million USD) for supplying medical equipment for Vietnam in the same fiscal year. The note was signed by Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and the Japanese Foreign Minister.

Meanwhile, Kishida and Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha signed another diplomatic note on the Japanese Government’s non-refundable aid valued at 390 million JPY (3.65 million USD) for a project on human resources development scholarships in the fiscal year 2016.-VNA