Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc says he will continue his country's cooperation with Japan amid his country's ongoing territorial row with China in the South China Sea.
In an interview with Japanese media before heading to Tokyo to attend a regional summit, Phuc said he hopes Japan will continue to play a "responsible role" in resolving tensions in the region.
Vietnam has strengthened its defense cooperation with Japan as China continues to build up its military presence in the South China Sea.
Last month, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force submarine Kuroshio docked at Cam Ranh International Port in Kham Hoaat facing the South China Sea.
"Japan has a common position with Vietnam, and has contributed to the realization of a peaceful and stable South China Sea," he said, praising Japan's approach to the region.
Phuc also stressed the "special relationship" of both countries, which this year are marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
Citing the rapid increase in the number of Vietnamese living in Japan, he said, "Personal exchanges are a bridge of friendship, which is the foundation of a solid relationship between the two countries."
Remarking on the increase in participating countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership since the withdrawal of the United States, he said, "It is a matter that should be considered based on the agreement of the concerned countries after the entry into force of the agreement."
"Vietnam will concentrate on the early entering into force of the agreement with other participating countries," he said.
Phuc is the second most-powerful politician in Vietnam after Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
In addition to attending the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting on Tuesday, Phuc will also have a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his four-day visit from Sunday.