As much as Japan would like to extend its help by providing patrol ships to Vietnam to help in their quest to protect their claim in the South China Sea against China, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says it will take some time to do so. He says that the country’s maritime resources are stretched as they are also upping their surveillance around the area of the Senkaku Islands, a territory that China is claiming as theirs as well.
Last March, the Japanese government sent over a research team to Vietnam as the first step towards eventually sending them decommissioned patrol ships to aid in their patrol of the area. Just two weeks ago, after a particularly nasty confrontation between Chinese vessels and Vietnamese patrol ships, Japan expressed its concern over the “provocative” actions of its neighbour and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga asked China to explain itself to the international community. But Abe said on Wednesday that his own country’s surveillance duties are getting more crucial, as patrol ships from both countries continue playing cat and mouse games. “Regrettably, our country is not in a situation where we can retire all the vessels that have reached such age,” he told the parliament.
Earlier this week, Vietnam accused a Chinese boat of deliberately sinking a Vietnamese fishing vessel which sailed near the Chinese oil rig that is currently in contested waters in the South China Sea. But China claims that the boat sank after “harassing and colliding with” their boat. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam earlier said that they are looking to Japan and other allies to help them maintain security in their waters.
[ via Reuters ]
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