Chairman of the Party Central Committee's Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan. Photo: VNA

Hoang Binh Quan, a member of the Central Committee and Chairman of the Commission for External Relations, of the Communist Party of Vietnam, wrote for the Japan Times on the occasion of the upcoming official visit by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

The article, titled “Creating a vision for the Vietnam-Japan relationship”, ran as follows:

“Trusting and understanding one other; upholding shared interests; strengthening cooperation efficiency; and heading for the future. These are recognisable features when reviewing the development of Vietnam-Japan relationship in the past decades.

Our countries established diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago, but actually the relationship between two nations began long before that. As early as the 16th century, Japan chose Vietnam as a trading destination. The coastal town of Hoi An was seen as the then-biggest “Japanese town” in Vietnam, a commercial spotlight between Japan and Southeast Asia. May hallmarks and important monuments that indicate the long Vietnam-Japan economic and cultural exchanges remain there today.

Although the relationship between the two nations, like many other international ties, did go through some rough periods, the bond between our countries has moved forward through the spirit of friendliness, tolerance and shelving the past and looking to the future. Frankly, in recent years we have witnessed comprehensive and profound developments in our bilateral ties. We have built a trustful relationship, which is experiencing its best period ever. We have been working under the framework of an extensive strategic partnership in Asia since March 2014.

Japan has become a top economic partner of Vietnam and is the country’s largest official donor, the second-largest foreign direct investor and the fourth-largest trading partner of Vietnam. Out of the 90 billion USD in official development assistance granted to Vietnam in the past 20 years, Japan accounted for nearly 30 percent. Many large-scale infrastructure and industrial projects in Vietnam have been realised through Vietnam-Japan cooperation. It is highly appreciated that Japan has always respected Vietnam’s development policy and has shared with the country the aspiration for economic growth aimed at poverty reduction and targeting sustainable economic growth.

Political trust between our countries is resilient. Though our political regimes and economic models are different, we trust and respect one another. It is not a coincidence that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chose Vietnam to be the first nation to visit after his inauguration. Japan is also the first G7 country to recognise the market economy status of Vietnam. Twenty years ago, right after the end of the Cold War, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam paid an official visit to Japan. And over the past years, the two sides have frequently exchanged high-level visits and meetings, including party and parliamentary relationships as well as people-to-people exchanges.

We deeply appreciate Japan’s positive contribution to peace and prosperity in the region and the world at large over the past several decades. In this respect, we fully agree that Japan should have an adequate role so as to foster her positive and responsible contributions to peace, security, and development in the region. To that end, Vietnam is among the countries that early on expressed its consistent support for Japan becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council when the body is extended.

Trust is rooted deep in shared cultural values, under an idea of “same culture, same race, same continent”; in historical ties, in the spirit of “whole-hearted cooperation;” and in the exceptional liveliness of the strong sentiment between our two peoples. We are not only important partners but also friends who share ups and downs.

Based on solid relationship foundations, we now share many common strategic interests and possess various supplementary cooperation potentials that allow us to support each other for sustainable development. We both aspire to build the Asia Pacific into a region of peace, stability, cooperation and development. We both aim to resolve disputes by relevant peaceful measures in conformity with international laws. Strengthened Vietnam-Japan ties are conductive to the interests of the two peoples, as well as those of the region and the world.

Political trust, shared cultures, common interests, connected economies and people-to-people exchanges are values that define the vision of the relationship between our countries. We expect the coming official visit by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong to serve as an important milestone to open up a new vision, pushing forward comprehensively and further deepening the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia through fostering trust, connecting our economies, extending cooperation, sustainably developing relations and heading into the future. The Vietnam-Japan relationship shall move forward with bright prospects.

This year, the visits by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam to major nations confirms the country’s consistent foreign policy of independence, self-determination, multilateral diversification of foreign relations and the deepening of relationships with important partners."