• Kyodo

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Japan has signed a ¥36.6 billion ($345 million) loan agreement with Vietnam to provide the Southeast Asian country with six patrol boats to boost its maritime law enforcement capabilities, as Beijing steps up its claims in the South China Sea.

The deal comes as the United States has toughened its stance against China over what Washington says is Beijing’s “completely unlawful” maritime claims across most of the strategic waterway and its “bullying” of Vietnam and other claimant states in a bid to control offshore resources.

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