Japan, Vietnam sign defense transfer deal as China worries


Tokyo: Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the deal elevates their defense partnership “to a new level” and that Japan and Vietnam plan to deepen their defense ties through joint multinational exercises and other means. Details on the transfer of specific equipment, including warships, will be clarified in subsequent discussions, 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 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He concluded his visit by saying that China is planning to donate 3 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam. The deal comes two weeks after US Vice President Kamala Harris visited Vietnam to strengthen ties with the Southeast Asian nation.

During the tour, Harris urged countries to stand up against “intimidation” by China in the South China Sea. Japan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that Kishi and Giang agree on the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as cooperation in various fields of defense, including cybersecurity.

Tokyo regularly protests the presence of the Chinese Coast Guard near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China claims and also calls Diaoyu.

Japanese authorities say Chinese ships routinely violate Japanese territorial waters around the islands, sometimes threatening fishing vessels.

Japan detects suspected Chinese submarine near southern island

Japan has detected an allegedly Chinese submarine off an island in southern Japan, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday, stepping up Japan’s cautious 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 believed the submarine was Chinese because a Chinese Luyang III-class guided missile destroyer was near the submarine. The submarine moved northwest of the east coast of Amamioshima Island, about 700 kilometers (420 miles) northeast of the disputed East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by Beijing, the ministry said. On Sunday morning, the submarine was heading west into the East China Sea.

Neither the submarine nor the ship entered Japanese territorial waters. Under international law, submarines passing off the coast of another country must surface and display a national flag within territorial waters.

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