In a landmark development for international trade, Vietnam and Japan have officially elevated their bilateral relations to a "comprehensive strategic partnership". This significant advancement was formalized during Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong's visit to Tokyo, marking a key milestone in both countries' diplomatic journeys.
This enhanced partnership underscores Vietnam's pivotal role in the global supply chain, particularly in the context of ongoing trade tensions between China and Western countries. This shift is increasingly attracting foreign investment to Vietnam, as companies diversify their operations away from China, seeking new opportunities in Southeast Asia.
President Thuong, in a national broadcast, hailed this as a momentous event that begins a new chapter in Vietnam-Japan relations. This upgrade follows Vietnam's recent strengthening of ties with the United States, characterized by multiple cooperation agreements in fields such as semiconductors and critical minerals.
Vietnam, now forging comprehensive strategic partnerships with six nations including China, India, Russia, South Korea, the United States, and Japan, is strategically positioning itself in the global arena.
Japan ranks as Vietnam's third-largest source of foreign investment and fourth-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade hitting $50 billion last year. Major Japanese corporations like Canon, Honda, Panasonic, and Bridgestone have significantly invested in Vietnam, transforming it into a key manufacturing hub and one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.
Additionally, Vietnam and Japan share concerns over maritime disputes with China. In 2020, they reached a $348 million loan agreement for Vietnam to build six patrol vessels, a move that signifies their shared strategic interests.
This upgraded partnership between Vietnam and Japan is a testament to the dynamic and evolving nature of international relations and trade. It exemplifies how countries can mutually benefit from strategic alliances, fostering economic growth and stability in the region. The comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan is expected to open new avenues for economic, diplomatic, and security collaboration, significantly impacting the Asia-Pacific trade landscape.