Japanese defense minister to visit Vietnam for talks on maritime cooperation

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Maritime cooperation is expected to be discussed when Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera meets his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh in Hanoi Monday, Kyodo News reported. 

The meeting comes amid China's growing activities in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, and territorial disputes with Vietnam and its dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.

Onodera is also expected to express Tokyo's support for Vietnam's possible participation in UN peacekeeping operations and visit Vietnamese naval facilities, the Japanese news agency said quoting the country's Defense Ministry.

Onodera's Vietnam visit is part of a five-day trip starting Sunday that will also take him to Thailand, where he will meet with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who also serves as defense minister.

He will explain Tokyo's defense policy and strengthen cooperation in antipiracy operations with Thailand.

On August 9 Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh led a high-ranking military delegation to attend the second Vietnam Japan dialogue on defense policy.

The two sides agreed to support each other in researching and managing their seas and take part in international forums on establishing rules and codes of conduct at sea in accordance with international laws, Vietnam News Agency reported.

They emphasized the need to resolve disputes and differences over maritime sovereignty issues through peaceful measures to avoid armed conflict.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Vietnam Japan diplomatic relations.

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