Japanese PM leaves Tokyo for Vietnam visit hinh anh 1Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide (Kyodo/VNA)

Tokyo (VNA) – Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide left Tokyo on October 18, beginning his first overseas trip after taking office, with Vietnam as his first leg.

It is the second Japanese PM, after PM Abe Shinzo, to choose Vietnam as the first destination as part of his first foreign trip.

Vietnam and Japan officially established diplomatic ties in September 1973. In the recent two decades, bilateral relationship has grown strongly and substantially in various areas thanks to cultural similarities and strategic benefits. Their leaders maintained regular visits and exchanges at regional and global forums.

Currently, Japan is the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam with a two-way trade of 40 billion USD, and the second largest investor among 138 countries and territories investing in the country with 4,595 projects worth nearly 59.87 billion USD in September. It is also the largest supplier of official development assistance to Vietnam.

Bilateral ties have been upgraded from trusted and long-term stable partnership in 2002, to towards a strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in 2006, and strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in 2009, and extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia in 2014.

Commenting on the development of bilateral ties, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Vu Hong Nam said over the past 47 years since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, Vietnam and Japan have become closer within the framework of the extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia. Japan made important contributions to Vietnam’s economic development and vice versa.

In the past decade, bilateral bonds grew considerably, especially in trade, investment and people-to-people exchange, laying a foundation for stability and peace in Southeast Asia and a wider region.

Nam said Suga’s choice of Vietnam as the first destination inherits Japan’s policy in the past, especially under the administration of former PM Shinzo Abe, reflecting Japan’s appreciation for Vietnam in particular and ASEAN in general.

Sharing the same view, Director of the Vietnam Economic Research Institute in Japan Moribe Hiroyuki described Vietnam as a significant partner in Japan’s external policy and one of a few countries visited by the Japanese Emperor. The two nations also share common interests.

At a press conference in Tokyo on October 16, a Japanese official at the Foreign Ministry said Japan hopes that the visit will contribute to promoting bilateral ties following the COVID-19 pandemic and in the settlement of regional issues.

Ambassador Nam said the two countries’ leaders will discuss measures to further develop bilateral economic ties. 

Amid emerging challenges in Asia and Southeast Asia, political-security issues, diplomatic ties and cooperation on international arena will be part of their agenda.

Nam hoped that they will talk in detail joint work in the fight against COVID-19, especially the opening of border gates and resumption of commercial flights to facilitate economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges./.