07/06/2015, 00.00
VIETNAM - JAPAN
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Tokyo consolidates relations with Hanoi and cooperation with Mekong nations

by Paul N. Hung
Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are launching a three-year plan for sustainable development, environmental protection and strengthening of infrastructure. The Land of the Rising Sun will invest 6.1 billion in development aid. Spotlight also the safety at sea. Tokyo-Hanoi axis gains strength.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Co-operation for sustainable development of the region, protection of the environment and a common strategy in the field of infrastructure. These are the growth targets set for the years 2016-2018, by the governments who recently participated in at the last Summit of the Mekong Countries July 2 to 4 .

The event was held in Tokyo, Japan, the host country and promoter of the initiative that was attended by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, countries crossed by the Great Asian river. In the context of the summit, the governments of Japan and Vietnam strengthened their bilateral partnership.

In a joint statement at the conclusion of the summit, the participating countries confirm their willingness to promote a common approach in terms of development. In particular, they will seek to improve the situation of infrastructure in the Mekong Delta. The six governments have also developed a joint action plan and a "vision of industrial development" for the region.

Tokyo intends to collaborate in the project, pouring at least $ 6.1 billion (750 billion yen) over the next three years in public aid for development (ODA) into the local governments coffers.

In the summit, the leaders of Japan and the five Mekong countries also expressed their views on the importance of the oceans and security at sea, which are "common property" of the world. They emphasize the need for security and guarantees on the subject of navigation in the seas, particularly in the East and South China Sea long the center of a bitter dispute between Beijing and the nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

Hence, the government representatives call for a rigorous application of the Code of Conduct in the southern (Doc) and eastern (Coco) seas.

Vietnam’s major newspapers have given ample space to the meeting, emphasizing that the country "is preparing to enter a new era of development" geared to a "more stable" economy. In recent months there has been  a fast growth rate, with a previously erratic inflation now under control. The gross domestic product (GDP) in the first months of 2015 grew by 6.28% and by the end of the year is expected to reach 6.5%. "The highest level – it is claimed – since 2011."

Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnamese Prime Minister and representative at the Hanoi summit in Tokyo, said that the government intends to "promote and perfect" the market economy, developing human resources and basic infrastructure. Vietnam and the ASEAN nations - an association that brings together 10 countries of South-East Asia - are reaching the goal of building a regional economy later this year, a "free community" consisting of 625 million people and a GDP of 2,500 billion dollars.

The Prime Minister added that the process is at an advanced stage of negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the United States and the closure of the strategic partnership with Japan, the main backer of Hanoi in terms of public aid for development. In 20 years Tokyo has poured at least $ 27 billion into Hanoi’s coffers.  Still today the Land of the Rising Sun, concludes the premier, it is the third largest trading partner of Vietnam, with annual bilateral trade of about 30 billion to 38 billion investment.

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