The article states that Vietnam and Japan are preparing to enhance their diplomatic relations to the highest level, which signifies the growing concerns of both countries regarding China's assertive behavior in the region.
According to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to agree to upgrade the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership during discussions with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong.
As per Japanese government sources cited by the newspaper, Thuong is scheduled to visit Japan early next month. However, Hanoi has not yet announced Thuong's visit to Japan.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan. Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of both countries agreed to work together to elevate bilateral relations to new heights.
In September, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue stated that Vietnam supports upgrading the relationship with Japan to a new level, according to the official Hanoi Times.
The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and the Japanese Embassy in Hanoi did not provide any comments to VOA Vietnamese regarding these matters.
The expected enhancement of bilateral ties between Vietnam and Japan follows Hanoi's efforts to strengthen its relations with Washington. In early September, during U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Hanoi, Vietnam elevated its ties with the United States to a comprehensive strategic partnership, placing Washington on equal footing with Beijing in terms of diplomatic engagement.
VOA Vietnamese interviewed Bich Tran, an adjunct fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, who stated that Japan and Vietnam share sympathies due to their similar territorial disputes with China. Japan has a longstanding dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, while Vietnam has become increasingly concerned about China's military activities and territorial claims in the South China Sea, which Vietnam refers to as the East Sea.
In September 2021, Vietnam and Japan strengthened their military cooperation amidst concerns about China's growing military influence. Japan signed an agreement to transfer defense equipment and technology to Vietnam, allowing the exportation of Japanese-produced equipment and technology to the Southeast Asian nation.
Ha Hoang Hop, an associate senior fellow at the Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, stated in a telephone interview with VOA Vietnamese that both Vietnam and Japan want to address conflicts with China in the seas based on international laws and peaceful resolutions. Hop also mentioned that Vietnam supports the free and open Indo-Pacific framework, which has brought the two countries closer together and provided mutual support in terms of security.
Analysts suggest that Vietnam is seeking a balance between major powers by diversifying its bilateral relations with various countries to safeguard its security and national interests. Hop stated that Vietnam, the U.S., and its allies are becoming more aligned, aiming to promote security and realize an open and free region.
Bich pointed out that upgrading Vietnam's relationship with Japan at this time would help reduce the prominence of the Vietnam-U.S. comprehensive strategic partnership, demonstrating Hanoi's policy of diversifying diplomatic relations and avoiding China's displeasure with Vietnam's closer ties to the U.S.
China's state-run Global Times newspaper criticized the U.S.'s efforts to encourage Vietnam to take a greater role in its Indo-Pacific containment strategy against China following Biden's visit to Vietnam last month. The article clarifies that Vietnam has no intention of getting closer to the U.S.
và các nước phương Tây khác nhằm kiểm soát Trung Quốc," Hop nói. "Họ muốn thấy Trung Quốc tuân thủ các quy tắc."
Biden, khi phát biểu tại Hà Nội tháng trước, nói rằng ông không có ý định "kiềm chế Trung Quốc" và mối quan hệ gia tăng giữa Mỹ và Việt Nam là "về việc có một nền tảng ổn định" trong khu vực Đại Tây Dương - Thái Bình Dương.
Năm 2014, Việt Nam và Nhật Bản đã thiết lập một đối tác chiến lược rộng rãi.
Thương mại song phương giữa hai nước đã đạt gần 50 tỷ đô la vào năm 2022, khiến Nhật Bản trở thành đối tác thương mại lớn thứ tư đối với Việt Nam.