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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   21 January 2013  

Japan to fund projects worth US$500m in Vietnam


Japan plans to create a US$500 million assistance package to fund three Vietnamese development projects, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in talks with Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi yesterday.

The specific projects had not been decided but would likely be in trade, investment and infrastructure, said Yutaka Yokoi, Japan's Director General for Press and Public Diplomacy of Foreign Affairs.

During the talks, Dung congratulated Abe on his first trip to Southeast Asia after becoming Japan's prime minister, with Vietnam as the first stop on the journey. He also spoke highly of his counterpart's efforts to elevate the two countries' ties to a strategic partnership in order to bring about peace and prosperity in Asia.

Abe, who took office last month after a conservative Liberal Democratic Party landslide electoral victory, affirmed that Japan would continue working with Vietnam to develop their strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia.

The Japanese PM vowed to actively assist Vietnam in realising its national industrialisation and modernisation goals by providing official development assistance. He also pledged to continue working with Vietnam to implement the country's national industrialisation strategy under the Vietnam–Japan cooperation Framework until 2020 with a vision towards 2030.

Both leaders said they hoped that the visit would lift Vietnam-Japan relations to a new height and result in many practical as well as symbolic achievements, such as the exchange of high-ranking leaders, closer cooperation among ministries and departments and more dialogues between the two sides.

They agreed to work together to implement economic cooperation agreements reached by the two countries' senior leaders - especially large-scale infrastructure projects - and to promote Japanese investment in Vietnam and create a favourable investment and business environment for Japanese firms in the country.

Moving on to international and regional issues of mutual concern, both sides agreed to enhance the links between Japan and Asean countries. Dung said Vietnam would closely coordinate with Japan to organise activities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Asean–Japan dialogue relations.

The talks kicked off the 2013 Vietnam–Japan Friendship Year, which both countries will observe with a wide array of activities.

The Japanese PM also met yesterday with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong and President Truong Tan Sang.

Trong said that Vietnam aimed to build its friendship and strategic partnership with Japan not only for the benefit of the two peoples, but also for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.

Trong suggested the Japanese government and people further assist the country in its economic restructuring and growth model renewal process.

Abe, in turn, pledged to enhance bilateral ties, adding that the Japanese government would work with Vietnam to implement agreements signed by the two countries' high-ranking leaders in order to further improve the nations' strategic partnership.

He echoed the General Secretary's wish for enhanced cooperation and coordination between the two sides for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.

The biggest success resulting from the nations' bilateral diplomatic ties was political trust, President Sang said, which made it easier for the two countries to implement economic and social cooperation agreements.

Sang thanked Japan for generously assisting Vietnam despite its economic difficulties by continuing to provide official development assistance. He suggested the two countries maintain the exchange of high-ranking delegations.

He also praised Japan's stance on settling the East Sea issue, adding that Vietnam has stated many times that disputes among regional countries should be handled in a manner in line with international law in order to promote peace, stability and development.

The president also invited the Japanese Emperor to visit Vietnam this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic ties.

Abe said that based on these ties, Japan and Vietnam needed to work to reach consensus on dealing with regional and international issues, adding that he believed Vietnam would support Japan at regional and international forums.

Asean member countries, including Vietnam, should enhance cooperation programmes with Japan in order to benefit from economic development, Abe said. He pledged to do his utmost to strengthen the two countries' relationship during his term of office.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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