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Japan, Vietnam to hold maritime security talks in May

Kyodo

Japan and Vietnam have agreed to hold maritime security talks in May in Hanoi to accelerate maritime cooperation amid China’s increasing assertiveness in the East China Sea and South China Sea, government sources said Saturday.

The two nations are expected to exchange views on Japan’s possible provision of patrol vessels to Vietnam during the first-ever bilateral talks on maritime security, the sources said.

Vietnam has expressed hope that Japan will provide patrol boats as part of Hanoi’s efforts to improve its maritime security capabilities.

The two sides are expected to confirm their stand against China’s maritime assertiveness and the need for abiding by international law to ensure maritime security, one of the sources said.

Senior officials from Japan’s foreign and defense ministries will take part in the talks, the sources said.

Japan sees Vietnam “as a strategic partner that shares common interests,” a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

In the talks, Japan is expected to provide a briefing on China’s increasing maritime activities around the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, including occasional entries of official Chinese ships into Japan’s territorial waters around the islands, which are claimed by China, the sources said.

Vietnam is expected to touch on the dispute with China over sovereignty of the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea.