|Franz Ludwig Bernardo |||Aug 04, 2014 08:50 AM EDT|
(Photo : Reuters) Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Japan has agreed to provide the Vietnamese Coast Guard with six maritime vessels in order to strengthen and enhance Vietnam's maritime enforcement and surveillance capabilities, particularly in the South China Sea.
Japan's intention to assist Vietnam's coast guard was announced by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during his meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on August 1.
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The vessels could be used as patrol boats and are worth 500 million yen ($5 million) for the whole deal. According to a Japanese delegation source, four of the vessels were former commercial fishing boats while the other two were patrol boats previously owned by the Japanese Fisheries Agency. The vessels are between 600 to 800 tons.
According to Foreign Minister Kishida, training and equipment such as radar and lifeboats would also be included.
The vessels are expected to be delivered to Vietnam within the year.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh said "Vietnam welcomes Japan for its active and constructive contributions to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the wider world."
Foreign Minister Kishida said that both Japan and Vietnam agree that peace and stability should be maintained in regional waters and disputes should be settled "in accordance with international law."
Both ministers also agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the area of maritime security.
The move by Vietnam to pursue closer relation with Japan is due in part to the increasing aggressiveness of China in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
In early May, China moved the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in waters that Vietnam claims to be within its Exclusive Economic Zone. The oil rig was escorted by 100 Chinese ships while Vietnam was able to respond with only 30 ships.
The moving of the oil rig resulted in anti-China riots in Vietnam which resulted in at least two people dead and several Chinese owned factories being burned or damaged.
China eventually moved the oil rig away from Vietnamese waters in July.
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