September 11, 2021
Japan Ministry of Defense
Japan-Vietnam Defense Ministers’ Meeting
On September 11, 2021, commencing from 1415-1555 for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, Minister KISHI held a meeting with General Phan Van Giang, Minister of Defence of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, at the Ministry of National Defence, Hanoi.
At the outset, Minister Kishi expressed his appreciation for the invitation to visit Vietnam. He stated that he was pleased to make Vietnam the destination of his first overseas visit since becoming Minister of Defense, and to hold a face-to-face meeting with Minister Giang. Likewise, Minister Giang extended his warmest welcome and stated that he valued Minister Kishi’s decision to choose Vietnam for his first overseas visit.
Furthermore, in light of the security environment surrounding both countries and recent progress made in Japan-Vietnam defense cooperation, the Ministers took this opportunity to “redefine” Japan-Vietnam defense cooperation as not just for cooperation for Japan and Vietnam, but also for the purpose of more proactively contributing to the peace and stability of the region and the international community. Under this “New Level” cooperative relationship, they decided that Japan and Vietnam will collaborate at various levels.
2 Regional Security
The Ministers exchanged views on the current regional security situation, including about the East China Sea and the South China Sea. They confirmed the importance of Japan and Vietnam working together to uphold the existing international order based on the rule of law. They reconfirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight. They also shared the view that it is important to comply with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Minister Kishi stated that it is important to uphold and reinforce a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP), and stated his intent to reinforce within the international community, a strong opposition to – where inconsistent with the existing international order – any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion or any activities that escalate tensions. From these perspectives, Minister Kishi expressed serious concerns over China’s Coast Guard Law.
Regarding North Korea, Minister Kishi strongly condemned the launching of ballistic missiles by North Korea in violation of UNSC resolutions, and shared the view that such actions posed a serious challenge to the international community as a whole. Furthermore, he stated a commitment to coordinate toward the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges.
Concerning the situation in Myanmar, Minister Kishi welcomed the appointment of Dato Erywan, Minister of Foreign Affairs II of Brunei Darussalam to be the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, and stated the importance of progressing the “Five-Point Consensus” into concrete results. The Ministers affirmed their intent to continue to cooperate closely on this matter.
3 Bilateral Defense Cooperation
Recognizing that Japan-Vietnam bilateral defense cooperation has reached a “New Level,” the Ministers discussed the ways in which it should now evolve.
Welcoming the signing of Japan-Vietnam Defense Equipment and Technology Transfer Agreement today, the Ministers decided to accelerate consultations for the transfer of specific equipment including vessels.
The Ministers agreed to more proactively contribute to peace and stability in the region by continuing to foster bilateral defense cooperation, including through high-level exchanges, promotion of further cooperative activities associated with peacekeeping operations, and port calls in Vietnam by Japan Self‑Defense Forces (JSDF) vessels and aircraft.
The Ministers also agreed to promote coordination towards signing of memorandums to facilitate cooperation between the defense authorities of Japan and Vietnam in the fields of cybersecurity and military medicine.
4 Multilateral Cooperation
Minister Kishi reemphasized the view that the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” (AOIP) and Japan’s FOIP share fundamental principles, and stated that Japan‑Vietnam defense cooperation reaching a “New Level” will greatly contribute to realizing AOIP and FOIP.
The Ministers shared the view that, in the spirit of Japan-Vietnam defense cooperation at the “New Level,” the defense authorities of Japan and Vietnam will engage closely to organize the “Japan-ASEAN Cyber Security Training Program for Defense Authorities” announced by Minister Kishi at the 6th Japan-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting.
Determined to contribute more proactively to the peace and stability of the region and the international community, the Ministers were in agreement for the need to push forward with various collaborative efforts, including high‑level engagement and multilateral cooperation.