ASEAN, Japan are close, important partners of each other: official hinh anh 1Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung speaks at the symposium themed “ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for Prosperity” in Hanoi on June 4 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan are of great significance, and they have become close and important partners of each other, according to Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung.

He made the remark during an interview with the media on the sidelines of a symposium themed “ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for Prosperity” in Hanoi on June 4. The event was part of the ASEAN-Japan Day in Vietnam, an initiative of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

The official said it is not difficult to see illustrations of the cohesion between ASEAN and Japan over the last 45 years, as well as imprints of the Northeast Asian country on each ASEAN nation.

Amidst strong changes in the world and the region, the two sides are coordinating with each other to elevate their ties, grasp opportunities, and overcome challenges facing them.

Dung noted as the country coordinator of ASEAN-Japan relations for 2018-2021, Vietnam has worked to contribute to these connections, for example through workshops for scholars, policymakers, and businesses to discuss issues that both ASEAN and Japan pay attention to such as peace, stability, economic and digital connectivity, prosperous development, adaptation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and population aging.

The deputy minister said Japan is a very active partner of ASEAN and has been responsibly taken part in mechanisms led by this bloc, including the ASEAN Plus Three, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.

The two sides have shared many viewpoints on regional and international matters, he said, adding that Japan has respected ASEAN’s central role and leadership. 

In the time ahead, they will make joint efforts to promote the consistency in their strategies. For example, while Japan has a vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, ASEAN also has a similar viewpoint on this region. If Japan launched an initiative on sustainable infrastructure, ASEAN has a master plan on connectivity, and they are discussing ways to connect these two programmes.

Vietnam, as the country coordinator of ASEAN-Japan ties for 2018-2021, should play the main role in coordinating with Japan to create initiatives and carry out activities to guide this relationship in the next three years, Deputy Minister Dung noted.-VNA