Japan can now give defence equipment and technology to Vietnam under an agreement signed on Saturday, as the two countries step up their military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence.
Kishi’s meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Phan Van Giang, in Hanoi coincided with a two-day visit to the Vietnamese capital by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He wrapped up his visit by saying China plans to donate 3 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam. The agreement comes two weeks after the US Vice President Kamala Harris travelled to Vietnam to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian nation.
During the tour, Harris urged countries to stand up against “bullying” by China in the South China Sea. Japan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement that Kishi and Giang agreed on the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as cooperation in various defence areas including cybersecurity.
Tokyo regularly protests the Chinese coast guard’s presence near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu.
Japanese officials say Chinese vessels routinely violate Japanese territorial waters around the islands, sometimes threatening fishing boats.
Japan detects suspected China submarine near southern island
Japan detected a submarine believed to be Chinese off a southern Japanese island, the defence ministry said on Sunday, heightening Japan’s caution levels in the East China Sea as China increases its military activities.
The submarine remained submerged, but the ministry said in a statement that it believes the submarine is Chinese because a Chinese Luyang III-class guided missile destroyer is near the submarine. The submarine moved northwest off the eastern coast of the Amamioshima Island, about 700 kilometres (420 miles) northeast of the disputed East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by Beijing, the ministry said. The submarine on Sunday morning was heading west in the East China Sea.
Neither the submarine nor the ship entered Japanese territorial water. Under international law, submarines passing off the coast of another country are required to surface and show a national flag inside territorial water.