Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Minh Chinh, on Wednesday agreed to step up security cooperation between their countries while sharing "serious concerns" over aggressive moves in regional waters in a veiled reference to China's growing assertiveness.

A joint statement following their meeting in Tokyo said the two agreed on the importance of upholding an international order that is based on law, while affirming they will work together toward economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"Vietnam is an important partner for Japan which will serve as the linchpin in our efforts to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific," Kishida said as he met reporters alongside Chinh after their talks.