Promoting Mekong-Japan cooperation for prosperity and development

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation will pay a visit to Japan and attend the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit held in Tokyo from August 8-10.

The leaders of Japan and Mekong countries (Photo: VGP)
The leaders of Japan and Mekong countries (Photo: VGP)

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit aims to show that Vietnam attaches importance to the Mekong-Japan cooperation mechanism, promote cooperation towards sustainable development and common prosperity of the region, and further strengthen the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership.

In January 2007 at the 12th ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, Japan proposed a Japan-Mekong Region Partnership Programme with three priorities: (i) integrate economies of the region and beyond; (ii) expand trade and investment between Japan and the region; (iii) pursue universal values and common goals of the region. To date, Japan and the Mekong countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, have held nine summit meetings, 11 foreign ministers’ meetings and 10 economic ministers’ meetings. At these meetings, the countries reached many important agreements.

Vietnam has actively participated in Mekong-Japan cooperation since the mechanism was established. With its effective contributions, Vietnam has demonstrated an increasingly important role in many major issues of the Mekong-Japan cooperation mechanism. Vietnamese ministries, sectors and localities have participated in more than 100 projects, notably the construction of Lach Huyen Deepwater Port, Terminal 2 of Noi Bai Airport O Mon and Nghi Son 2 Hydropower Plants.

This Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo marks 10 years since the establishment of the cooperation mechanism and 3 years of implementing the Tokyo Strategy 2015. Vietnam’s attendance at the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit aims to affirm the country’s commitment to this cooperation mechanism, review the experiences in the past 10 years and outline major orientations and measures to further enhance the effectiveness of cooperation in the time ahead.

The Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership is now at a period of fine development with many cooperation achievements in all fields. High-level meetings are frequently held, helping to enhance political trust between the two countries.

Bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Vietnam-Japan Cooperation Committee co-chaired by the two countries’ foreign ministers, Vietnam-Japan Strategic Partnership Dialogue on foreign policies, security and defence at the deputy foreign minister level are maintained frequently and effectively.

Japan is the largest donor of official development assistance for Vietnam, its second largest foreign direct investor and fourth largest trading partner. In the first eight months of 2018, the total trade value between Vietnam and Japan reached US$24.52 billion, up 13.7% compared with the same period of 2017.

Cooperation in agriculture, climate change response, education, tourism and labour between the two countries has also produced many good results. Vietnam and Japan work closely and effectively at multilateral forums such as the United Nations, APEC, ASEAN and ASEAN’s expanded mechanisms.

2018 is a particularly significant year in the relationship between Vietnam and Japan, marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the start of Vietnam’s term as the coordinating country in ASEAN-Japan relations. In this context, Prime Minister’s Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Japan aims to affirm Vietnam’s determination to bring the Vietnam-Japan extensive strategic partnership to a new period of more comprehensive and substantive development.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s attendance at the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit and visit to Japan indicates Vietnam’s firm support and commitment to promoting sustainable and effective Mekong-Japan cooperation, while at the same time asserting that Vietnam always attaches importance to enhancing the extensive strategic partnership with Japan, desiring to bring the bilateral relationship to a new period of more comprehensive and substantive development, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.