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Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Japan

The Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh paid a 4-day official visit from 22 to 25 November to Japan to have a discussion with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on furthering economic and security cooperation between Japan and Vietnam. Chinh was the first foreign leader to be invited to Japan since the Kishida administration came to power on 4 October 2021. Both sides are committed to enhancing bilateral relationships to the next level and have a common resolve to work towards securing peace, stability, development, and prosperity in the region and beyond. The former prime minister of Japan Suga had visited Vietnam in October 2020, and it was his first visit to any foreign country. This was the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s first visit to Japan as well. The visit is being seen as an attempt to answer the need for ‘Free and Open Indo Pacific’ and to develop close cooperation between Vietnam and Japan. The visit focused on various sectors including defence. During the visit of the Japanese defence minister to Vietnam last year several agreements have been signed between the two sides which included the transfer of technology and defence trade between the two sides. Both the leaders also confirmed a range of partnerships in areas such as COVID-19, infrastructure and climate change. In a further commitment to its earlier stance, Japan assured Prime Minister Chinh that Japan shall continue to support the strengthening of Vietnam’s maritime law enforcement capabilities by accelerating aid for the construction of patrol vessels. China’s growing influence and power have both countries worried about the security and stability of the region, hence are required to enhance their cooperation.  One of the important critical areas that the two countries discussed was related to the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and promoting intra-regional trade so that better complementarities could be developed between the two sides. Vietnam is looking for major support and cooperation from Japan and this visit is just a huge step towards a stronger foundation of the relationship between the two countries.