Asia's Game of Thrones
Japan and Vietnam Building a Strategic Partnership

During his historic visit to Tokyo, Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong joined Japanese premier Shinzo Abe to announce sizable Japanese investments in Vietnam’s military and civilian infrastructures. The Diplomat has the story:

Following a meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Japanese premier Shinzo Abe pledged that his country would provide new vessels and loans to Vietnam in a boost to economic and security ties.

Vietnam and Japan already have a robust relationship, with the two countries upgrading their relationship from a strategic partnership in 2009 to an extensive strategic partnership in 2014. But the visit, Nguyen said in an interview with Japanese media outlets before his four-day trip to Japan, was aimed at “bringing Vietnam-Japan relations to a higher level.”

In addition to naval vessels and equipment, Abe promised a loan of 100 billion yen ($835 million) for infrastructure development. Vietnam is expected to use the money to expand its port and highway systems.

Just this past weekend, India’s air force chief visited Vietnam, although the specifics of his agenda were unclear. The Japanese premier, meanwhile, was upfront about what is bringing Tokyo and Hanoi together: “It is very significant that we shared grave concerns over continuous unilateral actions to change the status quo and increase tensions in the South China Sea, which includes large-scale land reclamation and building of outposts.”

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