Tokyo, Nov 24 (FN Agency) Japan and Vietnam on Wednesday agreed to step up security co operation, while sharing security concerns regarding the regional waters. In a veiled reference to China’s growing assertiveness in the region during a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Tokyo, the two sides shared “serious concerns” over aggressive moves in regional waters. The joint statement released after the meet said that the two agreed on the importance of upholding an international order that is based on law, they also affirming that they will work together towards economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Kyodo quoted Kishida stressing the importance of Vietnam for regional stability “Vietnam is an important partner for Japan which will serve as the linchpin in our efforts to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific,” The statement said the leaders “expressed serious concerns” about the situation in the South China Sea and any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions,”. It called for disputes to be resolved in line with international law. The two leaders agreed to step up discussions on utilizing an agreement signed in September this year allowing exports of Japanese-made defense equipment including ships to Vietnam. PM Chinh, who is on a four-day visit to Japan, was quoted as saying, “Our countries consider each other the most important and long-term partners, and I hope we can continue to elevate bilateral relations to new horizons.”
Both Japan and Vietnam are involved in territorial disputes with People’s Republic of China(PRC). China claims the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, while Vietnam has disputes in the South China Sea, where Beijing has expansive claims. On Tuesday, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and his Vietnamese counterpart Gen Phan Van Giang after a meeting, agreed to “strongly oppose” any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in regional waters. Several Japanese companies manufacture in Vietnam or use Vietnamese components in their products. Kishida and Chinh agreed to strengthen supply chains across their countries, including diversification of manufacturing facilities.