Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has affirmed Vietnam always considers Japan one of its leading strategic partners, particularly in economics and trade.

He made the affirmation at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his official visit to Japan from September 12-14 at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio.

FM Minh also affirmed the willingness to work with the Japanese side to consolidate and boost the two countries’ comprehensive cooperation.

Prime Minister Abe, for his part, stressed that Japan sees Vietnam as one of its important partners in the region and wants to further develop the bilateral strategic partnership in the coming time.

During the talks with his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio and at the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee’s fifth meeting, the two FMs expressed their delight at the strong development of the two countries’ relationship since the fourth meeting in July 2012.

They reached a consensus on specific directions and measures to further strengthen bilateral ties, emphasising the importance of maintaining visits and exchanges between the two countries’ high-ranking leaders even through unofficial visits or exchanges on the sidelines of international and regional meetings and telephone talks.

They also agreed to intensify cooperation between the ministries, sectors and localities, and promote cooperation and dialogue mechanisms such as the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee, the Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative on improving the investment environment, the Strategic Partnership Dialogue and the Defence Strategic Dialogue.

In terms of economic cooperation, the two sides praised specific results gained during the implementation of their leaders’ agreements, including the approval of Vietnam’s Industrialisation Strategy within the framework of the two countries’ cooperation up to 2020, with a vision towards 2030.

They agreed to continue fostering cooperation in agriculture and infrastructure, and implement important and large-scale projects like building nuclear power plants, railways and airports.

Minister Minh spoke highly of Japan’s valuable support through its official development assistance (ODA) over the past 20 years while Minister Kishida revealed that Japan will provide Vietnam with further ODA worth 500 million USD for three projects in the 2013 fiscal year.

The two FMs also exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual concern, and agreed to strengthen cooperation at international and regional forums.

FM Minh affirmed the country’s willingness to coordinate with Japan to successfully organise the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in December.

Both sides stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and maritime freedom at sea, and settling all disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They praised the two countries’ successful organisation of activities to celebrate the 40 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, thus contributing to intensifying exchanges and mutual understanding between the two peoples.

During the visit, FM Minh also attended the opening ceremony of “Vietnamese Days in Japan”, which takes place in Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka and Nagoya from September 12-22.

On the behalf of the Vietnamese State and Government, FM Minh presented Friendship Orders and the Prime Minister’s Certificates of Merit to Japanese individuals who have actively contributed to boosting the two countries’ friendship and cooperation.

While there, he also met and exchanged views with several ministers and leaders of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Japan Federation of Economic Organisations.-VNA