Japan, Vietnam agree to boost defence ties, resume flights

HANOI, VIETNAM (AP) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first overseas summit since taking office last month, agreed with his Vietnamese counterpart to step up defence and security cooperation.

In talks in Hanoi yesterday, Suga and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc set a basic agreement allowing Japan to export defence equipment and technology to Vietnam.

Japan has been pursuing such pacts in recent years to bolster ties with Southeast Asia and sustain its own defence industry.

Suga said his four-day trip to Vietnam and later Indonesia was key to pursuing multilateral economic and security cooperation.

“Vietnam is crucial to achieving our vision of ‘the Free and Open Indo-Pacific,’ and our valuable partner,’” Suga told a news conference after his meeting with Phuc. “Japan, as an Indo-Pacific nation, will continue to contribute to the peace and stability in this region.”

Suga said Vietnam, at the centre of the region, was the most suitable destination for his first trip abroad as Japan’s leader.

“Vietnam appreciates that Japan, one of the world’s leading powers, is actively contributing its efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region and in the world,” Phuc said.

Japan already has defence equipment transfer deals with the United States (US), Britain and Malaysia, among other countries. Vietnam is a 12th partner. In its first actual delivery of such exports, Japan in August exported a radar surveillance system to the Philippines.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc with their spouses in Hanoi, Vietnam. PHOTO: AP