Hanoi, May 3 : The defence ministers of Japan and Vietnam on Thursday agreed to resolve the territorial claim disputes in South China Sea, Japanese ministry officials said. Japan's defence minister Takeshi Iwaya met with his counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich here and agreed to advance cooperation between Japan's Self-Defence Forces and Vietnam's military in maritime security and other areas for the peace and stability of the region.
The defence minister of Japan also stressed on the importance of steadily implementing UN Security Council sanctions resolutions against North Korea to realize the country’s de-nuclearization, The Japan Times reported. He asked for Vietnam's support in resolving North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago. Both the countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and seek promotion in the fields like maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and cyber security.
Tensions remain high in the South China Sea, with China pushing its claims to almost the entire body of water — a vital shipping lane with rich fishing grounds and possibly large oil and natural gas deposits. Vietnam as well as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan claim parts of the waters. On July 12, 2016 an international tribunal in The Hague rejected China’s argument that it enjoys historic rights over most of the South China Sea. The tribunal also said that China had violated international law by causing “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine fishing and oil exploration.
In 2015, China began pumping sand onto disputed reefs in the Spratly Island group of the South China Sea.China has steadily expanded its military assets in the highly strategic area, through which one-third of global maritime trade passes. It has constructed port facilities, military buildings, radar and sensor installations, hardened shelters for missiles, vast logistical warehouses for fuel, water and ammunition, and even airstrips and aircraft hangars on the man-made islands. (UNI)