HANOI: Japan and Vietnam agreed on Sunday to strengthen economic and security ties while calling for an end to the war in Ukraine, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a tour of South Asia -East.
“We will strengthen bilateral relations to put the economies of both nations back on a clear recovery path from the coronavirus,” Kishida told reporters in Hanoi after meeting his counterpart, Pham Minh Chinh.
Chinh said the two “agreed to strengthen cooperation in post-pandemic trade, strengthen supply chains and energy transition, in accordance with mutual interests.”
Japan is Vietnam’s largest provider of official development assistance and the third largest source of foreign direct investment. Bilateral trade rose 8.4 percent last year to $42.9 billion, according to data from Vietnam Customs.
Kishida and Chinh said they discussed regional responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and disputes in the South China Sea, where China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have competing territorial claims.
“We agreed that any change of the status quo by force cannot be recognized,” Kishida said, referring to the Ukraine crisis. “We agreed on the need to end the war immediately.”
Kishida said he and Chinh “also agree to strongly oppose any attempt to change the status quo by force in the South China Sea.”
Kishida held similar talks with Indonesia on Friday.
Chinh announced Vietnam’s donation of $500,000 for humanitarian aid to Ukraine through international organizations.
He said Vietnam plans to start exporting longan to Japan in September, followed by other products such as grapefruit, avocado and rambutan, while opening its market to Japanese grapes.
Kishida said Japan would support an energy transition to sources such as biomass, hydrogen and ammonia in Vietnam, which has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050.
(Reporting by Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Elaine Lies in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by William Mallard)