The Daily Manila Shimbun


Vietnam foreign chief praises Kono for challenging China

August 8, 2017

MANILA- Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh praised his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, when the two met in Manila on Tuesday for his remarks opposing China's development of military facilities in the South China Sea. Minh said that he highly rates the Japanese foreign minister's remarks because they added momentum to discussions on issues in the South China Sea.

At a meeting of foreign ministers from the East Asia Summit forum member countries in the Philippine capital on Monday, Kono expressed deep concern over the situation in the South China Sea and said that Japan strongly opposes any unilateral attempt backed by force aimed at changing the status quo.

Kono also urged China to follow the July 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, that rejected the country's claims in a territorial dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea, stressing that the verdict is legally binding and will serve as an effective foundation for efforts to find a peaceful solution.

At his meeting with Minh, Kono, who took office last week, said that Japan hopes to promote security and defense cooperation with Vietnam, including through supplying patrol ships to the Southeast Asian country.

Minh thanked Japan for its support for Vietnam and expressed his hope that Japan will become the largest investor in the country.

Kono called on Vietnam to improve its investment environment in order to help Japanese companies better operate there.

At a separate meeting later on Tuesday, Kono and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi agreed on the necessity of strengthening effective pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

They also confirmed that Japan and Indonesia will continue work on organizing the next two-plus-two meeting of their foreign and defense ministers. The last such meeting took place in December 2015 in Tokyo. Jiji Press