Japan said Friday it would give Vietnam six vessels to boost the communist country’s capacity to patrol its territorial waters, amid a bitter maritime dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea.
The deal for the six used vessels, worth 500 million yen ($5 million), was announced in Hanoi during a two-day visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida aimed at deepening bilateral ties.
“We hope this will help strengthen the maritime law enforcement capability of Vietnam,” Kishida said at a press briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.
Relations between Vietnam and neighbouring China plummeted to their worst point in decades in early May after Beijing moved a deep-water oil drilling rig into waters in the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam. …
While the rig was in place, there were repeated skirmishes between dozens of Chinese and Vietnamese vessels around the rig.
Hanoi accused Beijing of ramming and sinking one of its wooden fishing vessels. Beijing denied the allegation, blaming intrusions by Hanoi’s fishing fleet for the incident.