Japan pledges to bolster Vietnam's coastal patrol capabilities

By VnExpress   June 7, 2017 | 08:55 am GMT+7
Japan pledges to bolster Vietnam's coastal patrol capabilities
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in Tokyo, Japan June 6, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Agreements worth $350 million would help upgrade Vietnamese coast guard vessels and their capability.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday that Japan would help bolster Vietnam's coastal patrol capabilities with new patrol boats and defense equipment. 

The announcement was made in a joint press briefing with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Tokyo, according to a post on the Vietnamese government's website.

The 38 billion yen ($350 million) deal is part of an effort to strengthen the two countries' security ties amid tension in the South China Sea, AP reported. The sea is officially known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

At the briefing, both sides agreed on the importance of ensuring peace, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

The two prime ministers also urged all involved parties to avoid taking unilateral actions, such as militarization, to change the status quo and escalate tensions in the region.

Involved countries, they said, should instead settle disputes through peaceful means and in accordance with international laws, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as comply with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties and the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, expected to be completed soon.

In order to further accelerate the development of Vietnam-Japan relations, Abe also asserted Japan would apply its experience and advanced technology to help improve Vietnam's infrastructure and investment environment, as well as train Vietnam's labor force.

“With today's results, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and I will hold hands to push for cooperation in all areas,” he said.

Japanese warships have been making port calls in Vietnam in recent months to bolster ties between the two countries, amid tension in the South China Sea.

China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Washington will not accept Beijing's militarization of islands in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last weekend.

"We oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims," Mattis said. "We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo."

On Monday Phuc and Abe also witnessed the signing of business deals worth $22 billion between their two countries at a conference in Tokyo.