Vietnam News Update (Dec. 16): President Xi Jinping’s Visit to Vietnam Achieves Remarkable Success

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Vietnam has been hailed as a resounding success by Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The fruitful discussions between the two leaders have paved the way for closer cooperation in various fields. In other news, Vietnamese and Lao hospitals have joined forces to carry out nine successful kidney transplants in 2023, showcasing the strong bond between the two countries in the field of healthcare. Additionally, a workshop was held to commemorate the 50-year relationship between Vietnam and the Netherlands, highlighting the enduring friendship and collaboration between the two nations. Lastly, JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has reaffirmed its commitment to fostering comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, strengthening their bilateral ties for mutual development.

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Vietnam News Today (Dec. 16) notable headlines

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Vietnam visit a great success, says FM Wang Yi

Vietnamese, Lao hospitals collaborate on 9 kidney transplants in 2023

Workshop looks back on 50 years of Vietnam-Netherlands ties

JICA vows to foster Vietnam – Japan comprehensive cooperation

Vietnam’s real estate market sees remarkable surge in M&A deal values

Vietnam gains popularity among Russian tourists

PM Chinh arrives in Tokyo, starting Japan trip

Da Nang sees four-fold rise in number of foreign tourists

PM pays working trip to Japan’s Gunma prefecture

Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China. (Photo: Xinhua News Agency)

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Vietnam visit a great success, says FM Wang Yi

The State visit to Vietnam on December 12-13 by Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping is the most important political event in China-Vietnam relations this year and has reaped great success, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on December 14.

According to the Foreign Minister, the visit was of important historical significance, marking a new milestone in the relationship between the two parties and two states.

Wang also highly appreciated Vietnam’s enthusiastic reception at the highest level for Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping, when he was warmly welcomed by at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and seen off at the airport by National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.

The diplomat noted that 2023 marks the 15th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership between China and Vietnam. This is Xi’s third visit to Vietnam as head of the Chinese Party and State that demonstrated the importance and special friendship between the two countries, cited VOV.

Xi earlier said his State visit to Vietnam was the successful culmination of China’s diplomatic efforts in 2023.

At a press briefing in Hanoi on December 14, Pham Thu Hang, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, once again emphasized that during Xi’s visit, the two sides agreed to build a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance, striving for their peoples’ happiness and for the peace and progress of humankind.

Together with the released joint statement, the two sides signed 36 cooperation agreements covering various areas related to the Belt and Road Initiative, development cooperation, digital economy, green development, transportation, inspection and quarantine, defense and law enforcement, as well as maritime cooperation.

Vietnamese, Lao hospitals collaborate on 9 kidney transplants in 2023

Military Hospital 103 of the Vietnam People’s Army and Central Military Hospital 103 of the Lao People’s Army joined hands to conduct nine successful kidney transplants from December 31, 2022 to December 15, 2023, at a ceremony held in Vientiane on December 15.

Addressing the event, which reviewed the sides’ kidney transplant project and discussed collaboration orientations for 2024, Colonel Savengxay Dalasath, Director of the Lao hospital, affirmed that the joint work was made following the guidance and agreement of the two nations’ defense ministries.

Participants agreed that with support of Vietnamese experts, Lao doctors have gradually mastered kidney transplant techniques, according to VNA.

Representatives of Military Hospital 103 of the Vietnam People’s Army and Central Hospital 103 of the Lao People’s Army exchange the minutes of their discussion at the event (Photo: VNA)

They also pointed out the issues that the Lao side needs to address, which involve the need for a law on organ transplants and the better provision of related machinery, equipment, and materials as well as training of specialized personnel in the field.

They concurred that the Vietnamese hospital will continue to send experts to work with and support its Lao partner in conducting between 10 and 20 kidney transplants, in addition to further assistance in human resources training and technical transfer. The goal is to enable the Lao hospital to independently master the transplant techniques by 2025.

Workshop looks back on 50 years of Vietnam-Netherlands ties

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a workshop on 50 years of relations between Vietnam and the Netherlands, and their achievements and prospects, in Hanoi on December 15, as part of activities marking the 50th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties this year.

In her opening speech, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang affirmed that the Vietnam-Netherlands relationship is typical of dynamic, effective and practical cooperation.

The two countries have become priority and important partners of each other through the establishment of a comprehensive partnership in 2019, with political trust increasingly consolidated. The Netherlands has become Vietnam’s second largest trade partner in Europe and the biggest EU investor in Vietnam, she said.

According to the diplomat, the two countries established a strategic partnership on climate change response and water management in 2010, and a strategic partnership on sustainable agriculture and food security in 2014. They have rolled out specific and practical projects in the Mekong Delta. The bilateral relationship has expanded to national defense-security, transport and sci-tech, both at the central and local levels.

Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam Kees van Baar, for his part, expressed his wish to join with Vietnam in seizing opportunities of the next five decades, towards deepening collaboration in various fields, especially people-to-people exchange and sustainable development.

About orientations to future cooperation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang said the two countries need to continue maintaining a solid political foundation through meetings at all levels and channels to facilitate cooperation in other areas, VNA reported.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang and delegates (Photo: VNA)

Economy, trade and investment should remain an important pillar in the bilateral ties, she suggested, adding that both nations should take advantage of significant opportunities brought by legal frameworks such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

As they are seeing new opportunities and driving forces of cooperation in the circular economy and green growth, the diplomat proposed fully tapping Vietnam’s advantages and potential, with the support of the Netherlands, in institutional building, technology transfer and workforce training, towards sustainable development.

JICA vows to foster Vietnam – Japan comprehensive cooperation

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged to make further efforts to contribute to Vietnam’s development through its ODA capital and to promote the recently established Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and Japan, according to Yuichi Sugano, chief representative of JICA – Vietnam Office.

Sugano told the Vietnamese Government’s portal ahead of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s departure for the ASEAN-Japan commemorative summit in Tokyo from December 15 to 18 that Japanese ODA capital is focused on key areas, such as transportation, energy, and urban infrastructure. By the end of 2022, the total capacity of power plants built from Japanese ODA and PSIF (Private Sector Investment and Finance) capital stood at 5,226 MW, equivalent to roughly 6.5% of the total installed capacity of the country’s power system.

Highlights of bilateral ties can also be seen through symbolic projects such as Noi Bai International Airport (Terminal 2) and Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi, as well as Binh Hung wastewater treatment plant and metro urban railway line No. 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. The Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railways (MAUR) reports that 96% of the workload of the southern city’s metro line No.1 project has now been completed.

With regard to infrastructure development, JICA has granted loans to big projects such as National Highways 3, 5, 18; Ring Road 3; the Hai Phong, Cai Lan, and Lach Huyen ports; and Nhat Tan, Binh, and Bai Chay bridges, cited VOV.

Nhat Tan bridge in Hanoi, a symbollc project, using ODA loans from JICA

In July 2023 JICA agreed to provide ODA loans worth JPY60,983 million, equivalent to nearly VND11,000 billion, to implement three projects in Vietnam. Of the total sum, JPY50 billion will go to the post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and development programme which has already been approved by the National Assembly. This can be considered as a ‘pioneer project’ of the Far East nation’s new generation ODA scheme for Vietnam, according to the JICA Vietnam leader.

Japan is in the process of discussing new-generation ODA sources to provide capital flexibly that can fully meet the needs of the Vietnamese Government, he said.

Sugano also revealed that moving forward JICA would prioritize co-operation with the Vietnamese side in high-quality infrastructure development, human resource development, health care, and climate change response.

To effectively implement ODA projects, he recommended that Vietnam move to introduce clear and easy-to-understand regulations, and simplify administrative procedures, pointing to the fact that a delay could cause the total project cost to increase due to inflation, exchange rate fluctuations, and increased prices of materials and equipment. He expressed his belief that ODA capital will be used more effectively when regulations are improved.

Japan is the largest ODA donor to Vietnam among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with its ODA capital making up more than 30% of the total ODA capital which foreign donors have committed to the country. From April 2022 to March this year, Japan committed JPY18.9 billion, equivalent to VND3,100 billion, to Vietnam.

Vietnam’s real estate market sees remarkable surge in M&A deal values

Vietnam’s real estate market has continuously attracted many investors thanks to the political stability and investment incentive policies and witnessed a rising number of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals.

Many deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars

TTCapital Investment Joint Stock Company, an HCMC-based real estate firm and Japanese partners namely Cosmos Initia Co. Ltd., and Koterasu Partners Pte. Ltd. plan to invest US$150 million over the next five years in a real estate project to offer around 1,000 affordable apartment units every year.

The joint venture will implement a residential building project in Di An City of Binh Duong Province to provide 2,000 apartments with an area of 50 – 60 square meters each at the price of VND35 million (nearly US$1,500) per square meter, equivalent to less than VND2 billion ($82,700) a piece.

Surbana Jurong Group, a Singaporean global urban, infrastructure, and managed services consulting firm, and Kim Oanh Group signed a cooperation agreement on developing real estate projects invested by Kim Oanh Group.

Singaporean Keppel Corporation announced that Keppel Land’s wholly-owned subsidiary VN Prime Vietnam (VNPN) acquired a 65 percent stake in a company that holds a retail property in Hanoi, cited SGGP.

Hung Thinh Corporation has cooperated with Marubeni Corporation, one of Japan’s largest integrated trading and investment conglomerates, to develop a real estate project in Thu Duc City with an estimated investment of over VND10 trillion.

Gamuda Land, a property arm of Malaysian Gamuda Bhd, through its property arm, Gamuda Land has signed a share transfer agreement to acquire Tam Luc Real Estate Corporation, which owns a 3.68-hectare project site in Thu Duc City in HCMC for US$305 million.

Gamuda intends to develop the site into a mixed-use high-rise project consisting of 1,968 apartments, 12 penthouses, 51 podium shops, and 21 shophouse units.

According to data from KPMG, one of the largest professional firms in Vietnam, the most noteworthy transaction recorded was US$1.45 billion.

Deputy General Director of KPMG Nguyen Cong Ai, foreign investors who entered Vietnam previously often required perfect legality but now they accept a certain level of risks when Vietnamese businesses have offered appropriate prices and committed to being responsible for completing legal procedures.

A surge in the number of merger and acquisition deals

Although there are still many challenges, economic experts believe that now is the right time for businesses to increase acquisition or cooperation activities, especially enterprises with strong financial potential.

The government has launched many other positive solutions to solve problems of real estate projects, reduce interest rates to support businesses, improve the transparency of the real estate market, and help companies expand markets and cooperation.

According to Ms. Trang Bui, General Director of Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam, there will be a large amount of capital from foreign investors pouring into the Vietnamese real estate market in the 2024-2026 period because many contracts are in the active negotiation process. Seeking clean land funds with high quality, real value, legal ownership, completed compensation, and development potential are investment goals.

Mr. Neil MacGregor, managing director at Savills Vietnam, assessed that a stable economy and large population, infrastructure development, urbanization, and abundant investments from foreign countries and the middle class are potential opportunities. It is predicted that there will be a surge in the number of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in the Vietnamese real estate market in the next few years. Of these, most investments will come from Asian countries such as Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan.

Experts predict that Vietnam’s industrial real estate will strongly develop in the coming time due to the benefits of free trade agreements. Specifically, businesses with foreign direct investment will increase their trade activities in the Vietnamese market to enjoy tariff incentives. During this momentum, many investors will pay attention to the industrial real estate market segment. It allows foreign investors to expand their markets based on using experience and networks provided by the local partners.

Rosie Nguyen