Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called on ASEAN and Japan to prioritise strengthening economic linkages and narrowing development gap.

The PM was speaking at the 16 th ASEAN-Japan Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan , Brunei on October 9, which saw the participation of ASEAN leaders and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

While mentioning regional connectivity, PM Dung laid special emphasis on infrastructure and people-to-people exchange.

He proposed further Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) cooperation in various areas ranging from education and human resources development to economics, trade and investment, with a view to doubling two-way trade and investment by 2020.

The Vietnamese leader also urged ASEAN and Japan to increase coordination in coping with regional and global challenges such as terrorism, cross-border crimes, natural disasters, food and energy security, climate change, and maritime security and safety.

At the summit, the leaders acknowledged Japan as one of the most important strategic partners of the ten-member group, which lays a firm foundation for the elevation of bilateral relationship in the coming time.
The leaders applauded Japan’s polices towards ASEAN and the region, especially PM Shinzo Abe’s declaration on five principles of Japan’s ASEAN diplomacy, which affirms the attaching of importance to the relationship with ASEAN and supports the formation of its Community by 2015 as well as the grouping’s central role in the regional architecture.

They agreed to organise a summit celebrating the 40 th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan dialogue in Tokyo December this year, during which they are scheduled to discuss measures and orientations to lift their strategic partnership to a new height, for peace, stability and prosperity of both sides and the region as well.

Japan is now ASEAN’s second largest trade partner with two-way trade reaching over 273 billion USD. It is also the bloc’s largest importer and second foreign direct investment supplier.-VNA