Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide on Tuesday confirmed a plan to make his first foreign trip as chief of cabinet to Vietnam and Indonesia in an attempt to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, a strong legacy of his predecessor Abe Shinzo.
|Suga Yoshihide holds his first press conference as prime minister at his office on the night of Sept. 16, 2020. Photo: Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi
The trip would take place on October 18-21, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Mr. Suga, who took office on September 19, informed of his trip planned for next week at a meeting with the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership on Tuesday.
At the meeting, Mr. Suga highly valued ASEAN, of which Vietnam and Indonesia are members, due to the region’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific where Tokyo is striving to increase its engagement.
Talking to the press, Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu stressed the importance of the visit in realizing the vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. For that purpose, international cooperation is vital and Tokyo is seeking support for its Indo-Pacific vision.
Mr. Suga is set to discuss regional and international issues as well as a post-Covid recovery with leaders of Vietnam, which is holding the ASEAN chairmanship, and Indonesia.
Japanese media reported last month that Mr. Suga was expected to hold talks with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
His predecessor, Shinzo Abe, also chose Vietnam and Indonesia among the destinations for his first foreign trip after assuming the premiership for the second time in December 2012.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Vietnam has welcomed two foreign guests who are South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.