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Vietnam is an important factor in Japan’s foreign policy



The current Vietnam-Japan relationship is a broad strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia. Vietnam will be an important factor in Japan’s foreign policy.

Japanese Prime Minister has just finished a visit to Vietnam on October 18-20 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. This was the first overseas trip of Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide since taking office on September 16.

At the age of 71, he is a veteran politician who served as Chief Cabinet Secretary of the government led by former Prime Minister Abe for seven years and eight months.

Mr. Suga was born and grew up in Akita prefecture into a strawberry farmer family, unrelated to politics. He first ran for office when he was nearly 40 years old and was elected in the Yokohama Municipal Assembly. Less than a decade later, he ran a vigorous public speaking campaign and won a seat in the House of Representatives.

Good start

Renowned for being loyal, he never forgot his roots. As a minister, he promoted policies that would help local communities affected by Japan’s rapidly shrinking population.

Việt Nam là nhân tố quan trọng trong chính sách đối ngoại của Nhật Bản

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide arrived at Noi Bai airport, starting his official visit to Vietnam on October 18-20. Photo: Pham Hai

During his political career, Mr. Suga has been determined to achieve set goals. Five years after Mr. Abe stepped down as Prime Minister during his first term, Mr. Suga was at the forefront of an effort to bring his like-minded friend back to power. Now, he has stepped onto the stage to be known to the world.

Prime Minister Suga had a good start when the NHK’s poll showed that his new cabinet had a 62% support rate. The initial support rate for Mr. Suga’s cabinet was lower than the rate of 81% for the cabinet of Mr. Koizumi Junichiro and 72% for Mr. Hatoyama Yukio and it is similar to that of his predecessor, Abe Shinzo, when he first took office.

Mr. Suga’s new cabinet consists of 20 members, of which 15 are officials from the time of Mr. Abe Shinzo or earlier, so it can be considered an extended step from the Abe administration. Prime Minister Suga has retained Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and appointed a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, Nobuo Kishi, the younger brother of former Prime Minister Abe as Minister of Defense.

This is a sign that Mr. Suga will continue the foreign policy of his predecessor. It is understandable because Mr. Suga used to be a powerful arm of Mr. Abe.

Regarding whether Mr. Suga should continue with Mr. Abe’s policies, NHK’s public opinion survey showed that 17% said it should continue, 36% said it would be better if they continue, 20% said it should not be continued and 18% confirmed it should not continue.

An important point in the foreign policy of Prime Minister Suga is to move towards a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and the pillar remains the Japan-US alliance relationship. The Japan-US alliance serves as the foundation of peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. Prime Minister Suga made a phone call with US President Donald Trump and the two sides agreed that Japan-America is the cornerstone of efforts to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific.

In particular, the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is extremely important as it lies on Japan’s essential sea routes, located in an important strategic point connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In Japan’s position, it is important to further promote the integration of ASEAN, a hub for regional cooperation, as a partner sharing fundamental values such as the rule of law and democracy, in order to realize the stability and prosperity of the entire region.

With such a viewpoint, Japan continues to fully support ASEAN’s efforts to deepen integration. In recent years, Japan has been supporting ASEAN’s efforts, strengthening connectivity and reducing intra-regional gaps for deeper integration through ODA and Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.

General roadmap of action

In January this year, Foreign Minister Motegi delivered a speech on the ASEAN Policy in Jakarta proposing three joint roadmaps of action between Japan and ASEAN: ” nurturing people together”, “Building institutions together” and “Amassing our wisdom”.

The special ASEAN+3 Summit on Covid-19 response was held via teleconference in April. Prime Minister Abe at that time stated to support ASEAN countries based on three pillars, including the establishing the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

ASEAN adopted the “ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific” (AOIP) in June 2019. Japan welcomed the adoption and endorsement of AOIP, in accordance with the fundamental principles in Japan’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).

Among Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam has an important geostrategic position, as it is adjacent to the East Sea, the gateway to the east-west economic corridor and the southern economic corridor. Vietnam is a rapidly growing country with stable socio-political growth and an increasing role in the ASEAN region.

As the Chair of ASEAN 2020, Vietnam has played a good role in leading member countries to strengthen cooperation in many fields, for the common goals of ASEAN. The value and position of Vietnam in the region and in the international arena are being improved. Vietnam can take advantage of and promote its advantages in political-security and economic cooperation.

The current Vietnam-Japan relationship is the broad strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia, and Vietnam will be an important factor in Japan’s foreign policy.

Dr. Phan Cao Nhat Anh (Northeast Asian Research Institute, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences)



Cubans eternally optimistic, life-affirming, and passionate in fight for ideals: Vietnamese official




Former Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Khoan shakes hands with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. — Photo courtesy of Vũ Khoan

HÀ NỘI — Former Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee Vũ Khoan recounted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs his memories on the beginning of the Việt Nam-Cuba friendship, which has been marked by loyalty and affinity, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations (December 2, 1960 – December 2, 2020).

Below are Vũ Khoan’s full remarks.

“Our generation never forgets the feeling of utmost excitement when hearing about the triumph of the Cuban Revolution just as Việt Nam’s struggles against the American aggression to liberate the country entered a new chapter.

I have not been in charge specifically of Việt Nam-Cuba relations but I have had the good fortune to have been able to meet a number of high-level leaders of our comrade country.

In 1960, when I was working at the Vietnamese embassy in Moscow, Việt Nam’s Government asked the then-ambassador Nguyễn Văn Kỉnh to make contacts with Cuban ambassador in the Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) to start talks on the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. I accompanied the ambassador Kỉnh to the Ukraine Hotel in Moscow to meet with the Cuban ambassador and presented the national credentials.

Kỉnh was greeted by a thin man with a scholarly look to him save for the beard and olive oil-coloured military-issue khaki clothes in the meeting room. That was Faure Chomón, a legendary Cuban commander and one of the founding members and leaders of Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil – DRE (Student Revolutionary Directorate) – one the of the three main movements in the Cuban Revolution.

Commander Chomón was very receptive to the proposal of setting up ties between Việt Nam and Cuba and promptly reported back to Cuba.

It was not long before Cuba agreed to the proposal and the two sides quickly negotiated on the content of this historic announcement, marking the start of the long and rich history of comradeship and friendly relations between the two peoples on the same side in the fight against imperialism and endeavours for national liberation and the aspiration for socialism.

[The Soviet-led] Sovét Ekonomícheskoy Vzaimopómoshchi – SEV (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) once held a special meeting on relations with Cuba, with the attending Cuban delegation headed by the famous Che Guevara himself, a bearded man in olive-green military uniform wearing a beret. Despite Việt Nam not being a member of SEV, the Vietnamese ambassador to the Soviet Union was invited to take part in the meeting.

The image of Che in this meeting has left a strong impression on me, when he took his seat, he removed the pistol from his belt and placed it on the table with a gesture that was both natural and coolly nonchalant.

Che gave a detailed account of the challenges Cuba faced after the victory of the revolution and requested assistance from the Soviet Union and other Socialist comrade countries, in exchange for steady sugar supplies.

The impression of Chomónand Che as “revolutionary knights” with a flair of romanticism always returned to me when I had the opportunity to meet with Cuban President Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro or other Cuban leaders during important meetings held in the Soviet Union or when Cuban leaders visited Việt Nam or when I had the chance to visit “the island of freedom” in the Western Hemisphere.

It seems to me that Cuban people are eternally optimistic, life-affirming, and passionately relentless in fighting for their noble beliefs and ideals, in a fashion I can only describe as very Cuban.

Despite the oppressive economic embargo by the US in the last six decades and difficulties and hardship, Cuba has made itself a paradise of quality education and healthcare.

The hearts of Cuban people are filled with a pure spirit of [socialist] internationalism and an ardent readiness to sacrifice for other oppressed peoples – not unlike the knights of old times. With regards to Việt Nam, our Cuban friends are never anything short of committed and dedicated, staying true to the famous saying of the late Fidel Castro: “For Việt Nam, Cuba is willing to shed its blood!”

This profound fidelity has created a solid foundation for the genuine brotherly ties between Việt Nam and Cuba to shine forever.” —


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Việt Nam-Cuba ties going from strength to strength: ambassador




Cuban ambassador to Việt Nam Lianys Torres Rivera. — VNA/ Photo Dương Giang

Cuban ambassador to Việt Nam Lianys Torres Rivera lauded the special fraternal relationship between Việt Nam and Cuba in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency to mark the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties (December 2, 1960 – December 2, 2020)

Việt Nam-Cuba ties can be considered an exemplary model of international co-operation. What do you regard to be the factors that have lent strength and depth to these relations?

Historical context and mutual support at all times have shaped the special relationship between the two countries.

Cuba and Việt Nam established ties on December 2, 1960, after Cuba’s Triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1961. The solidarity between the Cuban and Vietnamese in our struggles against imperialism and later efforts in nation-building was nurtured partly thanks to the early foundation of our relations. And since then, Cuba and Việt Nam have managed to build a model friendship characterised by comprehensive co-operation across all spheres from politics, socio-economic to science and technology.

In the bilateral relationship, it’s important to point out the historic leading role played by the two countries’ leaders, President Fidel Castro and President Hồ Chí Minh, in promoting the fraternal solidarity between the two nations.

The two countries are facing common enemies and challenges. We have both chosen to pursue the path of socialism, by implementing the reforms and updating the economic and social mechanisms to suit the characteristics of each country.

The exchange of experiences and theoretical and practical issues related to Việt Nam’s đổi mới (renewal) and the updating of Cuban socio-economic model demonstrates the mutual trust between the two communist parties, two states and two governments.

Việt Nam has always supported Cuba in the fights against the irrational economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US in the past 60 years.

We highly appreciate the message by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng calling for the removal of unilateral sanctions that hurt the development of nations, especially the embargo against Cuba, which was delivered within the framework of the High-level General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

We understand that our bilateral ties can still expand in terms of trade and commerce based on the closeness of our special political relations.


General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Nguyễn Phú Trọng and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Raúl Castro Ruz on the aircraft to visit Santiago de Cuba on March 30, 2018, during the Vietnamese leader’s official trip to Cuba. — VNA/ Photo Trí Dũng



What initiatives have Cuba and Việt Nam been implementing to foster co-operation, especially during these challenging times?

In enumerating the special events in our relations, we have to mention Việt Nam’s participation as the honourable guest at the 29th edition of the Havana International Book Fair. Trương Thị Mai, Politburo member and Chairwoman of Việt Nam-Cuba Friendship Association, led the Vietnamese delegation at the various activities held during the fair. The fair was a wonderful opportunity for Cubans to learn about Vietnamese culture, strengthen two-way co-operation in publishing and enabling exchanges between the two countries’ writers and authors.

It must be said that the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes to the way activities are held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Cuba, as well as to scheduled delegation exchanges in several fields.

However, the pandemic has highlighted the close fraternal relations between Việt Nam and Cuba. The Communist Party of Việt Nam, the Government of Việt Nam, the Việt Nam-Cuba Friendship Association, and many Vietnamese businesses, individuals and organisations have donated money, food, and medical items to assist Cuba in the fight against the pandemic. These are important material support for us, especially as Cuba’s economy suffers a great deal both from US-imposed embargo and COVID-19.

Cuba also donated to Việt Nam a batch of drugs that produce antibodies to fight SARS-CoV-2, aiding in the treatment of patients in central provinces and cities of Việt Nam when a resurgence of the virus occurred in these areas in late July. The two sides have also had numerous discussions related to the issue.

We have celebrated the 60th anniversary of our ties in a meaningful time for both countries. Việt Nam is currently the second-largest trade partner of Cuba in Asia and in the 20 largest on a global scale.

The Việt Nam-Cuba Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed during Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit to Việt Nam in 2018 had started to take effect in April, contributing to the promotion of trade between the two countries. The agreement allows expansions and diversification of bilateral trade, facilitates import and export of goods, and makes it easier for the two countries’ products to penetrate each other’s markets.

It is expected that bilateral trade will reach US$500 million by 2025.

The implementation of the FTA serves as an important milestone during the two countries’ economic co-operation agendas in 2020-25 that have been adopted by the Governments.

What do you see as the potential fields of co-operation for Việt Nam and Cuba?

Strengthening economic-trade co-operation is one priority objective in Việt Nam-Cuba relations.

We have the inter-governmental Committee on Economic and Science-Technology Cooperation to develop projects in fields such as agriculture, health-biotechnology, finance-treasury, construction, transportation, science and technology, information technology and communication.

There is also huge potential in other important fields such as tourism, culture, pharmacy, agriculture, food industry and energy.

Cuba is always ready to provide support for Vietnamese in its search for investment opportunities and implementation of projects in Cuba.

To date, many Vietnamese companies specialising in the production of construction materials and necessities have set up shop at Cuba’s Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).

Commenced in November 2018, Việt Nam’s ViMariel Economic Zone is Cuba’s first administrative concession project granted for a 100 per cent foreign-owned enterprise in the ZEDM.

The Cuban government is constantly improving the country’s business environment, focusing on perfecting legal mechanisms to optimise attracting foreign investment, including setting up the One-Stop Shop Mechanism for investors. We hope these changes will encourage Vietnamese companies to get more and more involved in Cuba’s economic development.

Most recently, the Cuban government has passed two decrees on commercial mortgage and guarantee to attract foreign businesses, including Vietnamese.

There are mutual efforts in place to increase Vietnamese products’ presence in Cuba, as well as Cuban biotechnology and medicine products to be available more widely in Cuba, along with a team of Cuban experts.

With the coming 60th anniversary of bilateral ties, Việt Nam and Cuba have clearly displayed their appreciation of the relationship and are committed to continuing to grow the relationship in a more comprehensive manner based on the solid foundation of the political closeness. —


Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro (right) and Vietnamese former Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng met during a rally of Quảng Trị Province’s people to welcome the delegation to the National Liberation Front of South Việt Nam-controlled area on September 15, 1973. — VNA/ Photo



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PM attends ceremony in commemoration of President Lê Đức Anh’s 100th birthday



Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and other delegates visit an exhibition on late President, General Lê Đức Anh and his revolutionary career . —VNA/ Photo Thống Nhất

HÀ NỘI — Late President Lê Đức Anh has left deep imprints and an invaluable heritage on the revolutionary cause of the Party and the people, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

He made the statement at a ceremony to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of late President, General Lê Đức Anh which was held in Huế, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province on Tuesday.

Addressing the ceremony, PM Phúc expressed his gratitude to Lê Đức Anh, a resilient communist soldier, a talented politician and a prestigious leader of the Party, State and people and close friend, trusted by international friends.

“Over 80 years of revolutionary activities, he is a shining example of a communist who is loyal to the Party and devoted to the people,” Phúc said.

“He was a person who dared to think, dared to say, dared to do. He did as he talks and was ready to take responsibility.”

He made significant contributions to the struggle for national liberation, the cause of nation building and safeguarding, and international missions, in particular the victory of the August Revolution in 1945, the General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1968, and the 1975 Spring General Offensive, Phúc stated.

Recalling his life and career, the PM said General Lê Đức Anh was born in 1920 in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế.

In 1938, at 18 years old, he became a member of the Communist Party of Việt Nam. He served as a commander in Thủ Dầu Một City in the southern province of Bình Dương during the August Revolution in 1945, and later joined the anti-French resistance in the southeastern region.

He took part in several major battles as Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Việt Nam People’s Army, Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the Command of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army, and Commander of Military Zone 9.

He was the second-in-command of the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the military offensive that put an end to the three-decade conflict in Việt Nam and reunified the country on April 30, 1975.

In 1984, he was promoted to the rank of General, then served as Chief of General Staff of the Việt Nam People’s Army (1986), Minister of Defence (December 1986 – December 1991). He was President of Việt Nam during 1992-97.

General Lê Đức Anh and the Politburo and the Secretariat directed the implementation of important and breakthrough decisions to expand the country’s external relations after embarking on Đổi Mới (Renewal) process with great challenges.

The PM called on the entire party, the entire army, people and compatriots abroad to bring into full play the patriotism, self-reliance and great national unity’s strength, continuing to promote the renewal process in a fast and sustainable manner. —


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