HANOI – Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday said Japan would grant an additional US$500 million of official development assistance (ODA) for infrastructure projects in Vietnam.
Abe on Wednesday arrived in Hanoi in his first trip abroad after being elected as the Prime Minister of Japan in December 2012.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Abe stated Japan would continue to assist Vietnam in achieving its goal of industrialization and modernization through ODA. He committed Japan would continue to join hands with Vietnam in mapping out and implementing the Industrialization Strategy of Vietnam under the framework of the Vietnam-Japan cooperation towards 2020, with a vision to 2030.
The two prime ministers agreed to boost Japanese investment in Vietnam and create a more favorable business and investment environment for Japanese firms in Vietnam.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Abe emphasized Vietnam is an important partner of Japan since the two nations have a common concern over the issues in the region and complement each other in terms of economics.
“In the context of complicated strategic developments in Asia-Pacific, I and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung have agreed to promote the strategic partnership formed in 2006 in a more comprehensive way,” he said.
Prime Minister Dung informed the two sides had arrived at agreement on major orientations and specific measures to cement the bilateral strategic partnership.
He appreciated the additional ODA for three infrastructure projects in Vietnam. The total pledged ODA of Japan to Vietnam has reached US$1.7 billion for the fiscal year 2012.
He said: “We highly appreciate that the Japanese Prime Minister has chosen Vietnam as the first destination in his first overseas trip after taking office.”
Vietnam and Japan will closely coordinate with each other to realize the agreements between high-ranking officials of the two countries, especially in the important projects such as the North-South Expressway, Lach Huyen Port and Ninh Thuan 2 nuclear power, said Dung.
Earlier, in an interview with Tuoi Tre newspaper, Abe said Asia-Pacific is undergoing major changes, requiring more efforts to ensure peace and prosperity of the region.
“I’ve decided to visit Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, the three countries playing an important role as ‘centers of development’ of the 21st century, in order to strengthen the ties with these three nations, contributing to development and stability of the region,” said the Japanese Prime Minister.
This year is the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year, marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Abe hoped his visit would reaffirm the friendly relations between Vietnam and Japan and make a leap forward in the bilateral cooperation in various fields.
The strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan has been developing strongly over the past six years.
In the field of economics, the two-way trade turnover target of US$15 billion by 2010 has been achieved two years earlier than expected, and hit nearly US$25 billion in 2012.
Japanese investment in Vietnam has been increasing rapidly. In 2012, Japan became the largest investor in Vietnam. As of November 20, 2012, there had been 1,800 Japan-invested projects worth US$29 billion in Vietnam.
Since 2006, Japan has always been the biggest donor to Vietnam. Japan has granted up to 30% of its total committed ODA to Vietnam.
Japan’s ODA in the 1992-2011 totaled around US$20 billion, effectively contributing to Vietnam’s industrialization and modernization process, according to the Government web portal chinhphu.vn.
Minh Duc - The Saigon Times Daily
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