Japan to Expand Security Ties with Vietnam amid Tensions with China

Nov 2020

During his inaugural summit abroad, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, where the two leaders affirmed their cooperation on security issues and agreed on a pact that would see exports of Tokyo export defense equipment and technology to Hanoi.

Such equipment, likely including patrol planes and radar, would help improve the surveillance capabilities of Vietnam, which is one of the claimants in territorial disputes in the South China Sea including over the Spratly Islands, where China is building up its military presence. Details of the possible sales were not released.

The two leaders also agreed on the importance of maintaining peace, security, freedom of navigation, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Currently, Japan is one of Vietnam’s top trading partners, with two-way trade of USD 28.6 billion so far this year, and is also its largest overseas aid donor, providing USD 23 billion as of 2019. The Japanese government has also been trying to encourage its companies to invest in Vietnam and other South East Asian nations to diversify vital supply chains away from the current heavy concentration in China.

(Sources: Reuters; Bloomberg; Defense News)