Vietnam and Japan sign cybersecurity cooperation in response to concerns about China

General and Minister of National Defense Phan Van Giang welcomed Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo on the morning of September 11, 2021.

Vietnam and Japan November 23 signed an agreement on cyber security cooperation as the two Asian nations tighten defense ties amid concerns about China’s growing assertiveness.

Vietnamese Defense Minister Phan Van Giang and his Japanese counterpart, Minister Nobuo Kishi, witnessed the signing in Tokyo after holding talks on recent developments in the East and South China Seas, according to Kyodo News.

Minister Kishi was quoted by AP as telling reporters on November 23 that the newly signed cybersecurity cooperation was aimed at addressing the “strong urgency” of operations in the Indo-Pacific region which threaten the international order, alluding to China without naming any country by name.

In recent years, Japan has stepped up cyber defense cooperation with the United States, Australia, and other partners, and participated in NATO’s cyber exercises in April. In addition, Japan has also held talks on cybersecurity with Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia. Japan’s defense ministry said the cyberattacks were part of a growing security threat from China as it became more aggressive in the region.

In addition to the agreement on cybersecurity, Vietnam and Japan also signed an agreement on military medical coopẻation in the presence of the two ministers, according to Kyodo News. Minister Kishi said the talks with Minister Giang had brought “defense cooperation between the two countries to a new level.”

With the two new agreements, Japan will increase support for Vietnam in dealing with cyber attacks as well as medical problems in the operation of submarines and aircraft, by sending experts to Vietnam to provide knowledge in this area, according to Japanese Defense Ministry officials quoted by Kyodo News.

Japan reaches defense transfer agreement with Vietnam amid concerns about China

The new areas of cooperation were established just two months after Vietnam and Japan reached an agreement that allowed the export of Japanese defense equipment and technology to Vietnam, allegedly aimed at countering Beijing’s growing military influence in the region. Vietnam is the 11th country that Japan cooperates with to transfer defense equipment and technology.

Japan in recent years has strengthened its relationship with Vietnam in many aspects, especially in defense and security, with a southward policy, in which Vietnam is the center of this strategy, as both countries have maritime disputes with China at sea. Tokyo regularly opposes the presence of China’s coast guard near the Diaoyu Islands, or Senkakus, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. Meanwhile, Hanoi also regularly accuses Beijing of violating Vietnam’s sovereignty over the sea and islands in the South China Sea (Vietnam calls it the East Sea).

At the talks on November 23, the two ministers of Vietnam and Japan agreed to “strongly oppose” unilateral efforts to change the status quo of seas in the region, alluding to the expansion of the seas in the South China Sea.

The meeting took place a day before Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Chinh, who arrived in Japan on November 22 for a three-day visit, is the first foreign head of state to be welcomed by Prime Minister Kishida since the latter took office last month. According to VGP News, Mr. Chinh’s first official visit to Japan takes place in the context that the relationship between the two countries is at the best stage in history since the establishment of diplomatic relations and has high trust.

According to Tuoi Tre, Chief of Staff of the Japanese Cabinet, Matsuno Hirokazu, said on the eve of Chinh’s visit that Vietnam is a partner of Japan in realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and that Japan hopes to further strengthen ties with Vietnam as well as build personal trust among leaders. (Translated)


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