(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed at a summit with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong to elevate bilateral ties and provide security assistance under Tokyo’s new aid framework.
The two leaders underscored at a meeting in Japan on Monday that their relationship was underpinned by adherence to international law as well as respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a joint statement issued after the talks.
Thuong is visiting Tokyo to mark the 50th anniversary of ties between the two countries, as Japan seeks to strengthen relations with its Southeast Asian counterparts to help balance out the influence of China. The Vietnamese president is set to address Japan’s parliament Wednesday.
Tokyo will host a 50th anniversary commemorative summit with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next month.
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The agreement with Vietnam comes after Japan pledged to supply the Philippines with a coastal surveillance radar system under its official security assistance, or OSA system, launched last year. While the budget for security assistance is small, Tokyo sees such transfers as helping to ensure the security of sea lanes important to its own economy.
Kishida and Thuong affirmed the need for cooperation to ensure economic security and Japan said it would facilitate Vietnam’s participation in the global supply chain for Japanese businesses. With Vietnamese now making up the largest community of foreign workers in Japan, the Vietnamese side called for better pay and working conditions for its nationals, according to the statement.
While Japan is Vietnam’s biggest provider of aid, Hanoi also retains close ties with Russia and China. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted an invitation to visit the Southeast Asian country “soon,” according to a post on Vietnam’s government website. China and Vietnam also pledged to foster cooperation on rail and 5G telecommunications networks at a ministerial meeting Monday.
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