Japan, Vietnam sign defense transfer deal amid worries over China

TOKYO (AP) — Japan can now give defense equipment and technology to Vietnam under an agreement signed on Saturday, as the two countries step up their military collaboration in the midst of worries over China’s growth military influence.

The Japanese minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi said the deal their defense partnership “for a new level” and that Japan and Vietnam intend to deepen defense ties through multinational joint exercises and other means. Details over the transfer of specifically equipment, including naval vessels, will be worked out in subsequent talks, the ministry said.

Kishi’s meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Phan Van Giang, in Hanoi coincided with a two-day visit to the Vietnamese capital by the Chinese minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. he wrapped in up his visit by saying China plans to donate 3 million doses of his coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam.

The agreement comes two weeks after US Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Vietnam to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian nation. During the tour, Harris insisted: countries to stand up against “bullying” by China in the South China Sea.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense said: in a statement that Kishi and Giang agreed on on the importance of keep freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as collaboration in various defense areas, including cybersecurity.

Tokyo regularly protests the presence of the Chinese coast guard in near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, die China also claims and belt Diaoyu. Japanese officials say Chinese ships routinely violate Japanese territorial waters around the islands and sometimes threaten fishing boats.

During the talks, Kishi expressed Japan’s strong opposition to “any unilateral attempts to change the status quo through coercion of activities die escalating tensions”, referring to China’s increasingly assertive activity. in the East and South China Seas, but without naming any country.

Vietnam is the 11th nation with die Japan has signed defense equipment and technology transfer agreement. Tokyo is looking for expansion military cooperation outside its longtime ally the United States, and has signed similar agreements with Great Britain, Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia.


Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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