Press Conference

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister(08:53-08:58 P.M. September 16, 2013)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:53-08:58 P.M. September 16, 2013
Place: Hotel Nikko Hanoi
(This is a provisional translation of an announcement by the Defense Minister and the Q&A session at the subsequent press conference for reference purposes only)
The original text is in Japanese.

1. Announcements
None.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
I have an impression that you often hold talks with the Vietnamese side in closed settings. What was the focus of today's meeting?

Minister:
Today, I had meetings with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Minister of Defence Phung Quang Thanh. It is true that I had talks on several occasions with both Prime Minister Dung and Defence Minister Thanh in the past several months. Since today marks the 40th anniversary of the Japan-Vietnam diplomatic relationship, we pledged to maintain a cooperative relationship between the two countries, and we also exchanged views on such subjects as that Japan will provide various support to Vietnam. In addition, Prime Minister Dung, Defence Minister Thanh and I all agreed that it is important to resolve issues concerning maritime order through rule of law and dialogues.

Question:
In view of the fact that there are problems in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea, could you share any discussions carried out on those issues?

Minister:
While the Vietnamese side brought up specific issues they are currently dealing with, we also explained issues concerning the East China Sea which Japan is currently facing. In any case, we mutually agreed to take approaches to resolve these issues through rule of law and dialogues, and never by means of force. We exchanged views on topics such as what actions Japanese are taking in the East China Sea and what activities Vietnamese are engaging in in the Spratly Island and Parcel Island regions; in particular, I had a detailed discussion with Defence Minister Thanh.

Question:
In view of the fact that a conference was recently held between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, was there any reference to that today?

Minister:
I proposed that it is important to formulate something like a "code of conduct," which Japan is supporting the implementation of, and thereby creating an opportunity which will allow neighboring countries, including China, to engage in constructive discussion on a maritime communication mechanism.

Question:
Reportedly, the Vietnamese side is expecting to receive cooperative support from Japan. What kind of specific cooperation did it request?

Minister:
For example, Vietnam is currently attempting to update a range of defense equipment and is also very interested in participating in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (PKO). Because the Self-Defense Forces possesses high capabilities in a range of fields related to technical cooperation and capability building, I think that the Japanese side is able to provide various support particularly in relation to capability building for PKOs.

Question:
I assume that it is rather difficult for the Japanese side to provide cooperation to the Vietnamese side in the field of defense. Do you see any aspects in which Japan may be able to cooperate?

Minister:
I believe that there are many matters on which we can work cooperatively without any particular problems. For example, we can provide technical and capability building support associated with disaster relief, submarine rescue and PKOs. With regard to the cooperation related to defense equipment, I think that Japan should carry out deliberations at various levels, and thereby identify how it can contribute to that matter.

Question:
Did you carry out any in-depth talk specifically on the provision of patrol ships?

Minister:
Although the Ministry of Defense is not authorized to deal with this matter, the Vietnamese side in fact requested to me that the Japanese side provide support in terms of patrol ships and maritime police, in order to maintain maritime order and stability. I assured the Vietnamese side that I will convey this request to the relevant ministries and agencies including the Prime Minister.

Question:
What kind of view did the Vietnamese side express regarding the current issues related to the East China Sea?

Minister:
Their basic view was that those issues ought to be resolved based on rule of law and dialogue.

(End)

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