Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Vietnamese supreme leader Nguyen Phu Trong have agreed that Japan will provide more used vessels to shore up Vietnam’s maritime law enforcement capabilities to counter China’s increasing power in the South China Sea.
Abe also said Tokyo will extend about ¥100 billion in loans to Vietnam to help build new infrastructure such as ports and expressways.
“It is very significant that we shared grave concerns over continuous unilateral actions to change the status quo and increase tensions in the South China Sea, which includes large-scale land reclamation and building of outposts,” Abe said in apparent reference to China’s activities during a news conference Tuesday following a meeting with Trong in his office.
Trong, general secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, said he and Abe shared a common understanding that all disputes should be resolved by peaceful means based on international law.
Vietnam is involved in a territorial dispute with China, which claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea.
The agreement to provide more used vessels follows Tokyo’s pledge last year to provide Hanoi with six secondhand ships that could be used as patrol vessels.
Prior to the news conference, the two countries signed a memorandum of cooperation between their coast guards to enhance development of human resources.
They also signed a document to boost defense cooperation in the field of U.N. peacekeeping operations.
To expand trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, Abe said they agreed to work toward an early conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, known as RCEP, that involves the 10 member states of the ASEAN and six other countries, including Japan.
Trong, as general secretary of the Communist Party, outranks Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
It was the first visit to Japan by the leader of the Vietnamese Communist Party since April 2009, when the post was held by Nong Duc Manh.
Trong had an audience with Emperor Akihito on Wednesday. He was scheduled to meet with business leaders during his four-day stay through Friday.