Vietnam-Japan Defence Cooperation Reaching “New Level”

Defence Minister of Japan Kishi Nobuo said defence cooperation between Vietnam and Japan has reached a “new level”, suggesting that the relations should be further strengthened.
September 13, 2021 | 08:04
Vietnam-Japan Defence Cooperation Reaching “New Level”
Japanese Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo and his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang inspect the guard of honour at a welcome ceremony in Hanoi on September 11. Photo: People's Army Newspaper

Japanese Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo paid an official visit to Vietnam from September 10-12 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang.

Milestone in bilateral defence ties

Kishi said “Vietnam, where I worked hard with many people, is special to me. This is the reason why I made Vietnam the destination of my first foreign visit as Minister of Defence.”

The minister noted that he would like to make this visit a milestone marking the beginning of Vietnam-Japan defence cooperation moving to a “New Level".

During their talks following a welcome ceremony in Hanoi on September 11, the two ministers spoke highly of the bilateral defence ties over the recent past.

They also shared views on regional and international matters of mutual concern, including the importance of freedom of navigation and aviation amid complex developments in the region.

Vietnam-Japan Defence Cooperation Reaching “New Level”
During their talks following a welcome ceremony in Hanoi on September 11, the two ministers spoke highly of the bilateral defence ties over the recent past. Photo: People's Army Newspaper

Both stressed the need to observe international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), and exchanged experience in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two ministers also discussed orientations for the Vietnam-Japan defence cooperation in the new period and welcomed the signing of the agreement on the transfer of defence technology and equipment.

The two sides consented to closely collaborate in the implementation of programmes within multilateral and regional mechanisms, and push ahead with cooperation activities to make active contributions to peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.

Freedom of navigation and flight must not be unduly violated

[File: Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP]
Japanese Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo. [File: Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP]

Kishi said in the sea and airspace of the East China Sea and the South China Sea (called Bien Dong Sea in Vietnam), there are cases where actions are being taken, based on one-sided assertions that are incompatible with the existing international order.

Freedom of navigation and freedom of flight must not be unduly violated,” he emphasized, adding that it is important to repeatedly promote the significance of the "rule of law" and the basic principle of the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and above all, to put it into practice.

Reviewing the situation in the South China Sea, he said Japan strongly opposes unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion and any activities that raise tensions, and shares concerns with Vietnam.

Pointing to various challenges to ensure the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, the minister said peace and stability of the region is essential for the prosperity of the world.

The attempts to change the status quo by coercion that we facing can affect not only this region but the entire international community, and should be seen as a global challenge that threatens the existing international order.”

Given this, he suggested utilizing all partnerships to deal with the challenge, and maintaining and strengthening rules-based, free and open international order.

“New tool” to strengthen defence ties

Vietnam-Japan Defence Cooperation Reaching “New Level”
At the signing ceremony of the Japan-Vietnam Defence Equipment and Technology Transfer Agreement. Photo: People's Army Newspaper

On September 12, Giang and Kishi witnessed the signing of the Japan-Vietnam Defence Equipment and Technology Transfer Agreement, which, the Japanese minister said, is a new tool to boost the bilateral defence relations.

According to Kishi, under the agreement, the two sides will accelerate discussions toward the realization of tangible equipment transfers, such as cooperation in the field of vessels that contribute to regional maritime security.

They will also expand the scope of cooperation to unprecedented fields and new domains.

Japan will work closely with Vietnam to improve cybersecurity in the region so that this initiative will serve as a model case for Japan-Vietnam ASEAN defence cooperation at the "new level," he further said.

The global spread of coronavirus infections has also had a major impact on security,” he said. “At the Japan-Vietnam Defense Ministers’ teleconference in November last year, we agreed to promote cooperation in the field of infectious disease control.”

In light of these developments, Vietnamese and Japanese defence authorities will continue to coordinate the signing of a memorandum of understanding in these two important fields, in order to promote cooperation in the fields of cyber security and military medicine, he said.

The minister also highlighted Vietnam-Japan cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations and other fields, noting this kind of cooperation shows their strong will to actively contribute to the peace and stability of the international community.

We will continue to promote further cooperation in the future,” he affirmed. “Today, I have a grand and ambitious vision of Japan-Vietnam defense cooperation at a "new stage."

Vietnam calls for more Japanese support in Covid-19 fight

State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) welcomes Japanese Minister of Defence Kishi Nobuo (Photo: VNA)
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) welcomes Japanese Minister of Defence Kishi Nobuo. Photo: VNA

During a reception for the Japanese Defence Minister, President Nguyen Xuann Phuc asked Japan to continue supporting Vietnam with Covid-19 vaccines and access to vaccine sources.

Vietnam will facilitate the enhancement of national defence cooperation between the two countries, Phuc pledged, lauding Japan’s assistance to countries affected by the pandemic, including Vietnam.

The leader used the occasion to thank the Japanese government for providing Vietnam with over 3 million vaccine doses.

He welcomed and supported Japan’s active contributions to the maintenance of peace, stability, security and development of the region and the world over, and spoke highly of its stance on ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the South China Sea; and settling disputes and differences by peaceful measures on the basis of respect for international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, as well as the Declaration on the Conducts of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

Kishi affirmed Japan’s commitment to continue cooperating with Vietnam in pandemic prevention and control.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) receives Japanese Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo (Photo: VNA)
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) receives Japanese Defence Minister Kishi Nobuo. Photo: VNA

While in Vietnam, the Japanese minister was also received by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh who said the Party, State, Government and people of Vietnam have regarded Japan as a leading important partner which enjoys a high trust in the country’s foreign policy.

The leader called on Japan to provide Vietnam with new ODA projects, saying Vietnam will continue creating a transparent and favourable environment for foreign investors, including those from Japan./.

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