Ardent friendship further enhanced in the Land of the Rising Sun

Saturday, 2015-09-19 12:38:53
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Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspect the guard of honour at Akasaka Palace, Tokyo, Japan on September 15. (Image credit: VGP)
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NDO – Nhan Dan newspaper correspondent Bac Van summarises outcomes of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to Japan, which generated a good impression and further enhanced bilateral relations.

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With three highlights, which include enhancing political trust, connecting the two economies, and promoting co-operation in regional and international issues, the visit’s positive outcomes create a strong motivation to further promote a comprehensive and deeper strategic partnership between the two countries, for peace and prosperity in Asia.

Enhanced political trust

After nearly five hours on a private jet operated by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation received a warm welcome from the people of Japan. The welcoming ceremony for Vietnam’s Party leader was hosted by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka Palace, which included the attendance of all members of the government of Japan.

During his stay in Japan, General Secretary Trong had several important activities on his agenda. After the official welcoming ceremony, the leader held talks with PM S. Abe, had meetings with Emperor Akihito, President of the House of Councilors and Speaker of Japan’s House of Representatives, and received representatives from Japanese socio-political organisations, businesses and investors.

Pleased to welcome Party General Secretary Trong, PM S. Abe said that the visit was an opportunity to further enhance bilateral relations. The head of the Japanese government has a special affection for the people of Vietnam, as immediately after taking office he chose Vietnam as the first place to visit. He said he loves the country and people of Vietnam, and always savours Hanoi’s pho (noodles) when visiting the northern city. At a banquet held for the Vietnamese delegation, the PM invited his Vietnamese friends to enjoy Japanese apples, noting that there were no Vietnamese mangoes as two days later provisions allowing mangoes to be imported from Vietnam to enter Japan would take effect.

General Secretary Trong has repeatedly visited Japan, however this is the first time he has visited the nation in his position as General Secretary. The highest leader of Vietnam’s Party remarked that, each visit to Japan leaves a special mark on him. The meeting with PM S. Abe was a reunion of trusted friends.  The two countries are not only broad strategic partners but also sincere friends who understand and respect each other.

Party leader Trong conveyed a message to people of the Land of Cherry Blossoms emphasising that Vietnam and Japan share many similarities. In talks with representatives of the Japanese social strata, the general secretary said the two nations came together from a very early time via cultural exchanges and trade since the eighth century. His speech was highly appreciated by Japanese scholars and researchers. Sharing the same thoughts as the former Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Head of Institute of Vietnam Economic Studies Kubota said that General Secretary Trong’s speech was deeply profound, and consistently reflects the views of Vietnam in domestic and foreign relations. According to Kubota, Japanese Institute of Vietnam Economic Research was founded 25 years ago at the proposal of former Party General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh. Vietnam’s achievements during 30 years of Doi Moi (renovation) are today regarded as positive outcomes of the Communist Party of Vietnam, which has fulfilled its leading role as leader of the country. Adding further, that the Vietnam Fatherland Front has performed its tasks well in effectively organising people-to-people dialogues to help the Party listen and understand the people’s voice and aspirations.

General Secretary Trong also had meetings to further enhance political trust. Greeting the Party leader, President of Japan's International Friendship Exchange Council (FEC) Ken Matsuzawa was pleased to repeat the words by comrade Trong during his visit to Japan in 2008 as National Assembly Chairman: "The relations between Vietnam and Japan sweep across all sectors, not just among the respective governments of Vietnam and Japan, but also seen in the varied exchanges of the two peoples". FEC has about 1,000 members who are corporations, companies and many influential people in politics, economics, and finance in Japan.

Economic connection served as motivation

Talking to representatives of Japanese walks of life in Tokyo or addressing the audience of local officials at a forum on Vietnam-Japan investment, trade and labour co-operation in Kanagawa Prefecture, General Secretary Trong affirmed that economic co-operation continued to be a highlight of the bilateral relations. Japan has been Vietnam’s largest ODA provider for several years, the second largest FDI investor in Vietnam, and the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam. During the meetings and talks with Japanese officials, the general secretary emphasised that the promotion of economic connection has been considered the focus and motivation of the development of the extensive strategic partnership between the two countries. Economic connection will play a very important role as the two countries engage in global and regional economic integration; in which the focus is to connect economic development strategies, production capacity and human resources on the basis of mutual benefit and mutual assistance. The two sides will foster co-operation in planning sustainable economic development strategies; facilitate simultaneous development co-operation and technological transfer in hi-tech areas, as well as work closely to effectively concretise the 2014 strategic programme on educational co-operation.

Many economic co-operation programmes were signed immediately after the talks between General Secretary Trong and Japanese PM S. Abe including a medium and long-term vision on Vietnam – Japan agricultural cooperation, a diplomatic note on providing more than JPY28.6 billion worth of official development assistance to Vietnam, and another providing a JPY200 billion non-refundable aid for Vietnam’s maritime safety, in the 2015 fiscal year; a MoU on workforce development in mechanical engineering between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and a MoU on financing the purchase of three Airbus planes; among others.

Many chairmen and CEOs of Japanese business groups and enterprises came to greet the General Secretary, and informed him of their activities whilst expressing their wish to co-operate and invest more in Vietnam. Sumitomo Corporation is operating in various areas of trade and investment in Vietnam, notably the two industrial parks: Thang Long I (Hanoi) and Thang Long 2 (Hung Yen province), both of which utilise the most modern infrastructure, attracting nearly 200 Japanese investors. The Japan External Trade Promotion Organisation (JETRO) currently has ten representative offices in ASEAN countries, and two offices in Vietnam.

On the last day in the Land of the Rising Sun, the Party chief visited the offices of Fuji Electric Company, which has produced turbines and significant amounts of equipment for the Na Duong Hydroelectric Power Plant, Hai Phong Thermal Power Plant, and Nghi Son thermal power plant. He also witnessed the signing of a co-operation agreement between the northern province of Hung Yen and Kanagawa Prefecture; attended the opening ceremony of a Vietnamese event in Kanagawa and a forum on Vietnam-Japan investment, trade and labour co-operation in Kanagawa Prefecture. At all of these activities, the general secretary emphasised that Vietnam wishes to deepen ties with Japan in all fields, especially in economics, stressing that boosting economic co-operation between the two countries will bring about both immediate and long-term benefits to the business communities and people of the two countries.

Before leaving Japan, the Vietnamese delegation joined the Vietnam event in Kanagawa under the theme 'For a future Vietnam'. The highlight of the event was a large painting made of more than 5,000 flowers, including Vietnamese lotus flowers and a characteristic flower of the Kanagawa prefecture. But there were still some missing pieces in the painting. General Secretary Trong joined the local officials to complete the flower painting with lotuses and Kanagawa flowers. This conveyed the overall message of the visit made by the general secretary, continuing to perfect the fine relationship between the two countries. Upon the leaders completing the picture, a group of local high school students sang a Vietnamese song amongst the very warm and friendly atmosphere.