Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan says it will give Vietnam six naval ships for patrols in the South China Sea. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement during a visit by to Hanoi.
Worth US$ 5 million, the six boats come with training and equipment to help coastguard and fisheries surveillance in an area disputed by Vietnam and China for its mineral resources.
Beijing angered Hanoi this May when it moved an oil rig to disputed waters for seabed "research".
China's action also angered ordinary Vietnamese who took to the streets, targeting Vietnam's large Chinese community.
For its part, Tokyo is already involved in a dispute with China over the sovereignty of a group of islands that the Japanese call "Senkaku" and the Chinese "Diaoyu".
For Minister Kishida, both Vietnam and Japan agree on "maintaining peace and stability" in regional waters, and that disputes must be settled "in accordance with international law".
For China security policy expert Yun Sun, Japan's gift could be seen as an "alignment of positions" with Vietnam, which will be "perceived as hostility by China".