Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) walk at the Presidential Palace, in Hanoi, Vietnam January 16, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Luong Thai Linh/Pool
‘We will strongly support Vietnam’s enhancing its maritime law enforcement capability.’
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in Hanoi on Monday that Japan would supply six new patrol boats to Vietnam, which is locked in a dispute with China over the East Sea, the Vietnamese reference for the South China Sea.
Abe’s stop in Vietnam completes a tour through an arc of the region where Japan stakes a leadership claim in the face of China’s growing dominance and uncertainty over what policy change Donald Trump will bring as U.S. president.
“We will strongly support Vietnam’s enhancing its maritime law enforcement capability,” Abe said.
Abe arrived in Hanoi on Monday afternoon, starting his two-day visit as part of an Asia-Pacific tour to strengthen cooperation in the region.
He was greeted by his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc and will also meet with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang and the country’s top legislator Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
This is Abe’s third Vietnam visit, after one in 2006 and another in 2013.
Vietnam is his final destination of a six-day tour which also included the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia.
“Japan hopes to fulfill a leading role in promoting close coordination with Asia-Pacific nations at a time when uncertainties are increasing in the political, security and economic fields,” a senior official was quoted by the Japan Times as saying.