TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday pledged 90.1 billion yen in loans for Ho Chi Minh City’s metro project during a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The meeting concluded a series of one-on-one talks Abe held with Asian and African leaders on Saturday.
Phuc took office in April. This is the first time the two leaders have met in person.
During their discussion, Phuc voiced his support of Abe’s pledge that Japan will help develop Vietnam’s infrastructure. Phuc said he “wants to take relations between the two countries to the next level.”
Abe expressed sympathy for Vietnam, which is dealing with a drought that has dried up nearly 140,000 hectares in the Mekong Delta, a key rice-growing region. The land has since been contaminated by salt water. Abe also promised $2.5 million worth of emergency grants.
On another issue, both leaders shared the view that disputes in the South China Sea need peaceful, maritime law-based solutions.
Vietnam has two disputes with China — over the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands. Although neither leader directly mentioned China, their meeting was partly meant to show China a united front on the issue.