The visit to Japan of General Ngo Xuan Lich and his entourage is part of activities in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic relations. Starting off the talks with Japanese Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori, the Vietnamese top defense official stressed, “I believe that the results of the visit this time will actively contribute to cementing the friendly relationship and mutual understanding between the two peoples and militaries of Vietnam and Japan, helping develop the bilateral defense relations in both scale and scope with practical results and effectiveness, for peace and stability of both countries, the region and beyond.”

The two sides at the talks 

For his part, the host welcomed the guest to Japan and revealed that Japan wishes to further boost defense cooperation and exchange with Vietnam. The two defense ministers expressed joy over the fine development of the cooperation over the past time, confirming that defense cooperation serves as the backbone in the Vietnam-Japan bilateral relations.

Both sides then discussed shared concerns over changes in regional security issues. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera reiterated the contents agreed by the prime ministers of both countries after the visit to Vietnam of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017. Back then, the two top government leaders stressed the importance of building a stable, free and open order in the Indo-Pacific region on the basis of international law. The host emphasized that Japan hopes to enhance cooperation with Vietnam in making efforts in carrying out “The free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.” The Vietnamese general held that the maintenance of peace and stability and freedom of navigation and overflight in the region on the basis of international law are greatly significant.

The two sides stressed that related parties in territorial maritime disputes, including those in the East Sea (South China Sea), should practice self-restraint, pay respect to diplomatic and legal process, and deal with disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. Related parties should strictly abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and strive for the effective building of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) so as to maintain peace and stability and find long-lasting win-win solutions acceptable to all sides.

Vietnam and Japan agreed to back nuclear non-proliferation by peaceful means, support substantially constructive acts and closely observe UN resolutions, contributing to keeping peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

The two ministers highly valued the Vietnam-Japan defense cooperation ties, which have seen vigorous development in various areas recently, highlighting cooperation between arms and services of the two militaries. General Ngo Xuan Lich expressed his pleasure at the defense cooperation over the past time, especially high-level and working-level exchanges, which has contributed to the common bilateral relations of the two countries. He said Vietnam and Japan should expand cooperation in the coming time in line with the potential that the Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership brings.

In the coming time, the two sides agreed to enhance defense cooperation by carrying out agreed contents in signed documents. They agreed upon boosting exchanges between arms and services of the two militaries, cooperation in aviation search and rescue, participation in UN peacekeeping operations, natural disaster response, cyber security and the organization of the sixth Vietnam-Japan deputy-defense-ministerial-level dialogue in Japan.

Japan boasts a high level of human resource and scientific and technological development; therefore, Vietnam and Japan should further cooperate in these realms, especially the areas of military medicine and maritime security. Vietnam welcomes ships and warships of the Japanese self-defense force to its ports, for both visits and visits for technical purposes. General Ngo Xuan Lich said, “I believe that the two sides will work harder to help the Vietnam-Japan defense cooperation develop both intensively and extensively, substantially and effectively.

The Vietnamese General highly appreciated the participation of Japan in multilateral mechanisms and its initiatives to keep peace and stability in the region, including the initiative of Vientiane Vision. He informed the guest that Vietnam will chair ASEAN in 2020 and this is also the year to mark the 10th anniversary of ADMM+ mechanism. Therefore, he hoped that Japan would support Vietnam to best fulfill its rotating ASEAN chairmanship as well as successfully hold defense-military meetings and activities in celebration of the 10th ADMM+ anniversary.

The two defense ministers signing the the Joint Vision Statement on Vietnam-Japan Defense Relations

At the end of the talks, the two defense ministers signed the Joint Vision Statement on Vietnam-Japan Defense Relations with vision towards the upcoming decade and the promotion of the implementation of bilateral cooperation contents in the coming time.

Within the framework of the official visit to Japan, General Ngo Xuan Lich met Special Advisor to the Japanese Cabinet Koya Nishikawa, Chairman of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association Sakai Kato Hitoshi, Director of Sasakawa Peace Foundation Yohei Sasakawa, and former Chief of Office of the Japanese Cabinet Yoshito Sengoku. He also visited the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan.

On this occasion, Central Military Hospital 108 signed a cooperation agreement with the Hospital of Juntendo University while the Military Medical University signed a cooperation agreement with Juntendo University.

Reported by Thu Trang from Tokyo, Japan

Translated by Huu Duong