Vietnam may reconsider major railway project

TN News

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Vietnam may submit a revised north-south high-speed railway plan to parliament, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, chairman of Vietnam's Central Government Office, told reporters from Nikkei newspaper during a March 8 interview in Tokyo.

The plan, if passed, will create opportunities for Japanese companies, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp. and Sumitomo Corp., to participate.

Minister and Chairman of the Central Government Office Phuc wrapped up his visit to Japan on March 9.

This is the first visit to Japan by a politburo member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) since January's Party Congress.

Phuc made the trip following an invitation from the Japanese government.

During his visit, Phuc attended meetings and working sessions with Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, Acting President of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Yoshito Sengoku, leaders of the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and representatives of the DJP Japan-Vietnam Friendly Parliamentarian League, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan-Vietnam Business Cooperation Forum.

He also met with leaders of  major Japanese enterprises, including Sumitomo, Hitachi and OJI.

During the meetings, Phuc expressed wishes that bilateral ties would continue to be strengthened and the two countries would successfully implement cooperative projects, such as the building of a nuclear power plant in Binh Thuan, rare mineral exploitation and other important infrastructure projects.

The minister asked Japan to cooperate and support Vietnam in human resources training for managers and government leaders.

Japan has earmarked aid of around 500 billion yen (US$6.1 billion) for two big projects in Vietnam, including the Lach Huyen seaport in Hai Phong City and Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai Province.

On March 4, Nikkei quoted sources as saying that the Japanese government would finance the projects through its businesses.

Further details of the projects will be discussed in meetings between Vietnamese Politburo members of the Party Central Committee and head of the Government Office, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, with Japanese authorities, next week.

The 140 billion yen ($1.7 billion) Lach Huyen Port Complex in Hai Phong will receive 120 billion yen ($1.4 billion) from the Japanese government, while the remaining capital would be provided by Itochu Corp, Nippon Yusen KK and Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd.

The three groups will co-operate with Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) to build the port complex, which is expected to become operational in 2015.

The Long Thanh International Airport will cost an estimated 300 billion yen ($3.6 billion) to build.

The airport is expected to become one of the largest in the region. According to the plan the airport will receive 90 percent of international flights and 20 percent of local flights to and from HCMC.

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