Japan has signed a new agreement with Vietnam that allows her to give defense weapons and technologies to Vietnam. This is a step up in military cooperation amid concerns about China’s increasing military influence.
Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s Defense Minister, said that the agreement promotes their relationship “to a higher level” and that Japan will continue strengthening defense ties with Vietnam through multilateral joint exercises. The ministry stated that details about the transfer of special equipment, including naval ships, will be discussed in future talks.
The two-day visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Hanoi coincided with Kishi’s meeting in Hanoi with Phan Van Giang, his Vietnamese counterpart. His visit to Vietnam ended with the announcement of the donation of 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam.
This agreement is two weeks after Kamala Harris, the U.S. vice president, traveled to Vietnam to improve ties with the Southeast Asian country. Harris called on countries to resist “bullying” from China in the South China Sea.
Japan’s Defense Ministry stated that Giang and Kishi agreed on the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and flight in the Indo-Pacific region and cooperation in defense areas such as cybersecurity.
Kishi stated that Japan doesn’t like any unilateral attempts at changing the status quo through coercion or other activities that escalate tensions. He didn’t forget to mention China’s interference in South and East China seas but he was careful to not mention the name of the country.
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