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Eye on China, Japan gives 6 ships to Vietnam

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

This article was published August 2, 2014 at 3:42 a.m.

The Associated Press

HANOI, Vietnam -- Japan will provide Vietnam with six vessels as part of a grant aid package that will boost Hanoi's maritime security patrol capacity at a time the country is locked in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea.

The deal announced Friday for the six used vessels worth $5 million was signed by both Vietnam's Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is on a two-day visit for a cooperation conference.

"We hope this will help strengthen the maritime law enforcement capability of Vietnam," Kishida said at a news conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.

Vietnam-China relations have plunged to their worst point in years after China's deployment of a giant oil rig in early May near the Paracel Islands, also claimed by Vietnam.

China sent a large flotilla of ships to protect the oil rig, and Vietnam also dispatched its coast guard and fisheries patrol vessels to try to force away the oil rig and much larger Chinese vessels.

China moved the oil rig in mid-July, a month ahead of its planned pullout, citing the beginning of the typhoon season and saying that its drilling mission was finished.

A Section on 08/02/2014

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