New Japanese PM Suga to visit Vietnam first: foreign ministry

By Viet Anh   October 15, 2020 | 05:16 am PT
New Japanese PM Suga to visit Vietnam first: foreign ministry
Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference following his confirmation as Prime Minister of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, September 16, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Carl Court.
Vietnam has been confirmed as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s first overseas destination after taking office last month.

Accepting an invitation from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, his Japanese counterpart Suga will officially visit Vietnam in the coming days, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press meet Thursday.

This is the second consecutive time that a Japanese prime minister is choosing Vietnam as his first overseas destination after taking office, Hang said.

In 2013, then Japanese PM Shinzo Abe also chose Vietnam as his first destination after taking office. Suga’s similar choice is a clear sign that showcases strong and substantial development of several aspects of the extensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, she said.

Suga confirmed that he would conduct his first foreign trip to Vietnam and Indonesia at a Tuesday meeting with the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership. The trip is set to take place from October 18-21.

Hang said Japan continues to be Vietnam’s most important economic partner, including in providing official development aid (ODA). Japan is also Vietnam’s second largest investor and fourth largest commercial partner, she added.

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

In his upcoming visit, Suga aims to continue enhancing Vietnam-Japan relations and discuss ways to boost cooperation in several fields. He would also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest in meetings with PM Phuc and other leaders.

"We believe the visit will be successful and contribute positively to the enhancement of the extensive strategic partnership between the two countries, as well as to socio-economic recovery and development post Covid-19," Hang said.

Suga, 71, became prime minister after winning a parliamentary vote, taking over from long-reigning Abe, who resigned with his cabinet, citing health issues. He was considered Abe’s right hand, serving as chief cabinet secretary for eight years.

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