Vietnamese, Japanese PMs hold talks in Tokyo

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held talks with his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio in Tokyo on December 16.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) and his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio. (Photo: VNA)

It is part of his trip to attend the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and have bilateral activities in the East Asian country.

This was the sixth talks between the two government leaders in the past two years and the second in 2023.

PM Kishida thanked PM Chinh’s attendance at the summit and believed that the Vietnamese delegation’s active contributions would play a significant role in the general success of the event.

The two leaders agreed to direct ministries and agencies to realise the contents of the Joint Statement on the elevation of the Vietnam-Japan relations to a Comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world, which was approved by senior leaders of the two countries in late November.

They shared common perceptions on jointly consolidating political trust, and increasing annual high-level exchanges and meetings through the Party, Government and National Assembly channels while enhancing practical and effective defence cooperation via the effective implementation of signed cooperation agreements.

Speaking highly of the positive progress in numerous key economic projects between the two countries in recent years, as well as official development assistance (ODA) reaching over JY100 billion in 2023 for the first time since 2017, they committed to ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral economic connectivity, ensure economic security, and establish a joint coordinating group between the two governments to step up the progress and efficiency of underway economic projects, including the Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemical Complex.

PM Chinh proposed Japan continue supplying new-generation ODA loans for strategic infrastructure development projects in Vietnam, such as the North-South high-speed railway project, urban railways, supporting industries, new industrial zones, climate change adaptation, digital transformation, green transition, health care, and more.

He called for support to facilitate Vietnamese businesses' participation in the global supply chains of Japanese enterprises, particularly in the fields of automobile, electronics, health care and apparel; and streamline inspection procedures to open the market for Vietnamese pomelos and Japanese grapes.

PM Kishida, for his part, expressed his wish that the two countries would develop together and contribute to the common development of the region.

Japan will continue assisting Vietnam in industrialisation and modernisation, and building an independent, self-reliant economy that deeply integrates into the global community, towards successfully realising its industrialisation and modernisation strategy, he noted.

The two PMs agreed to expand cooperation in green transition and climate change adaptation through practical projects.

PM Kishida promised to promote collaboration with Vietnam in energy transition and emissions reduction through the Asia Zero Emission Community Initiative (AZEC) launched by Japan.

Both leaders agreed to further enhance workforce training collaboration, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, locality-to-locality cooperation, and tourism.

PM Chinh suggested that Japan continue to create favourable conditions, relax entry requirements, and move towards visa exemptions for Vietnamese citizens entering Japan.

Meanwhile, PM Kishida affirmed that Vietnam's workforce, including high-quality labourers and skilled apprentices, is indispensable for Japan's socio-economic development. Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the upcoming organisation of a specific skills exam for apprentices in Vietnam.

The two leaders affirmed their commitments to continue close coordination on regional and international issues of mutual concern, positively contributing to maintaining peace, stability, and development in the region and the world. PM Chinh spoke highly of Japan's hosting of an AZEC high-level conference within the framework of the ASEAN-Japan commemorative summit.

On this occasion, the two leaders witnessed the exchange of cooperation documents between the two countries, which involved the fourth loan agreement for HCMC's urban railway construction project, the Japan Development Scholarship (JDS) project, and the equipment supply project for Vietnam’s K Hospital with a total sum of JY42.3 billion (nearly US$300 million).

Also on December 16, PM Chinh received leaders of several leading Japanese economic groups operating in the fields of health, energy and oil and gas.

At a meeting with Takagi Kuninori, Chairman of the International University of Health and Welfare (IUHW), the Vietnamese Government leader praised Takagi's efforts in promoting IUHW’s cooperation with and support for Vietnam in healthcare human resources development, which covered effective and practical collaboration projects with Vietnamese healthcare institutions such as the Cho Ray and 108 Military Central Hospitals as well as scholarships granted to Vietnamese medical students. He hoped such cooperation and assistance would continue in the time to come.

Takagi highly lauded Vietnam's efforts in pandemic prevention, economic recovery, and development. He expressed his wish to continue collaboration with Vietnam in the field of medical student training in Japan. Additionally, the Japanese group plans to build a big and modern hospital to provide medical examinations, treatment, and healthcare services for Vietnamese people.

Welcoming IUHW's plan, PM Chinh stressed the Vietnamese Government's support for the project. He affirmed that the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and local authorities will facilitate the implementation of the project.

The PM also received President and CEO Hidenori Harada and key leaders of Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (MOECO) – a global investment and trading conglomerate involved in resource exploitation, energy, equipment, chemicals, food, textiles, and finance. MOECO is one of the investor consortiums for Vietnam's US$6.6 billion Block B - O Mon gas project.

At the exchange of cooperation agreements. (Photo: VNA)

PM Chinh commended MOECO for its efforts and collaboration over the past 20 years in overcoming challenges related to the gas project. He urged the business to continue close cooperation with its partners to put the project into operation, with the latest deadline set for 2026.

PM Chinh suggested that MOECO expand its operations in Vietnam, particularly in the areas of its strength such as equipment manufacturing and step up the transfer of technology to Vietnamese partners to help Vietnam deeply join global and regional supply chains.

In the afternoon of the same day, PM Chinh hosted a reception for Executive Vice President and CEO Susumu Nibuya and other leaders of Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd., which is a leading energy conglomerate in Japan, currently owning and operating seven oil refinery plants in Japan.

While promising all possible support to Japanese firms and Idemitsu in particular, the PM suggested the Group and partners collaborate on governance, financial and input fuel restructuring along with developing efficient operational processes, applying modern technology and ensuring security, safety and environmental protection.

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