Japan Offers $1B ODA for Vietnam

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an official development assistance (ODA) package worth 100.3 billion yen, or nearly $1 billion, in fiscal year 2016 for Vietnam during his talks with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on June 6. The funding will go to four projects, including maritime safety, water management in Ben Tre Province, drainage and wastewater treatment in Bien Hoa City (first phase) and Hoa Lac hi-tech park infrastructure development (second phase). Both sides also announced three non-refundable aid projects in the fields of natural disaster mitigation and manpower training. Representatives from the two countries exchanged cooperation notes in various sectors such as labor, health, culture and technology. The two sides also inked deals to cooperate in expressway, port infrastructure and tourism projects in Vietnam while improving economic and trade relations. Speaking to reporters after their talks, the two leaders underlined the need to augment cooperation in security, defense, UN peacekeeping, the settlement of war consequences, investment, trade, high-tech, and labor. Japan highly values Vietnam’s rising role and position in the region and the world, and attaches importance to its ties with the Southeast Asian country, said PM Abe. He said he would ask Japanese businesses, research institutes and schools to boost cooperation with Vietnam in a bid to further deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries. PM Abe also affirmed his support for Vietnam to successfully host the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Danang City in November this year. Meanwhile, PM Phuc reiterated Vietnam always regards Japan as a top and long-term partner, underlining the special importance of Vietnam’s strategic economic ties with the Northeast Asian country. They concurred to organize the fourth high-level dialogue on agriculture in 2017 and boost the export of Vietnam’s litchi and longan to Japan and Japan’s orange to Vietnam. Both sides also discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern and pledge to tighten cooperation in multilateral forums like ASEAN, ASEM, APEC and the UN. They highlighted the importance of ensuring peace, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea and promoting the settlement of disputes by peaceful means and international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The two sides released a joint communiqué on deepening the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan. Earlier, PM Phuc and his wife visited Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. He said the Vietnamese Government and people give priority to cooperative relations with Japan and invited members of the Japanese Imperial Family to visit Vietnam on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2018. (Thesaigontimes June 7)