Japanese PM Suga arrives in Hanoi

By Viet Anh   October 18, 2020 | 07:39 am PT
Japanese PM Suga arrives in Hanoi
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife at Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi on October 18, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has begun a three-day official visit to Vietnam, his first overseas destination after taking office last month.

The flight carrying PM Suga, accompanied by his wife, landed in Hanoi on schedule at 6 p.m Sunday.

Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc will host an official welcome ceremony for his Japanese counterpart on the morning of Monday. Later, the two leaders will hold talks and meet the press.

Suga will also meet with Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

The Japanese PM is scheduled to meet students of the Vietnam-Japan University, visit the President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Monument of the Martyrs on Monday.

An official reception will be held in his honor in the evening. PM Suga will leave Vietnam for Indonesia the next day.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday that Suga's visit was taking place at a time when Vietnam-Japan relations were developing well.

She said Japan continues to be one of Vietnam’s top economic partners, including the provision of official development aid (ODA). The country is also Vietnam’s second-largest investor and fourth-largest trade partner.

The Japanese PM’s visit signals the desire to continue strengthening relations with Vietnam. The leaders of both countries will discuss measures to promote cooperation in all fields and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, Hang added.

Observers noted that the Japanese PM was visiting Vietnam while it was the ASEAN Chairman to show support for the "central role" of the regional bloc. At the same time, Japan wants to work with Vietnam to define a long-term direction of cooperation post Covid-19, especially in the new global supply chain, they added.

Vietnam and Japan established diplomatic ties in 1973, upgrading bilateral ties to strategic partnership in 2009, and to an extensive strategic partnership in 2014.

PM Suga, 71, became Prime Minister of Japan after a parliamentary vote on September 16, replacing Abe, who resigned with his cabinet, citing health problems.

This is the second consecutive time that a Japanese prime minister is choosing Vietnam as his first overseas destination after taking office. In 2013, then Japanese PM Shinzo Abe also chose Vietnam as his first destination after taking office.

Similar choice is a clear sign that showcases strong and substantial development of several aspects of the extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, Hang said.

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