Defence cooperation: An important component in Vietnam – Japan strategic partnership

PANO – The defence cooperation between Vietnam and Japan has seen far-reaching development since the opening of the Defence Attaché Office in each country. That defence ties have been defined as one of the main features of the two countries’ strategic partnership.

Visiting General Kimizuka Eiji, Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force and Lieutenant General Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army in August 2013.

Visiting General Kimizuka Eiji, Chief of Staff of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force and Lieutenant General Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army in August 2013.

Based on the memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation, signed by the two Ministers of Defence in October 2011, Vietnam and Japan have boosted their defence cooperation, especially in exchanges of delegations at all levels, the annual defence policy dialogue at the deputy-ministerial level, personnel training, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as well as cooperation in regional and international defence-security fora.

Notably, exchanges of delegations at all levels, especially for senior officers, have been considered one of the most efficient cooperations of the two armies in recent years.

Besides, the two sides have already taken turn to organize two annual defence policy dialogues. Such a dialogue is a good chance for leaders of the two Ministries of Defence to discuss openly about international and regional issues of mutual concerns, each country’s standpoint and measures to boost bilateral defence cooperation, mutual trust and understanding.

Attentively, dialogues at staff officer-level of the Navy, the Army at general-level and the General Staff have achieved great successes.

In terms of training, many Vietnamese cadets have taken part in long-term study courses in Japan. The number of Japanese scholarships for Vietnamese cadets has increased in recent years. Thus, training cooperation is a way of building a bridge between the two armies.

Since 2010, the Japanese Ministry of Defence has promoted a program on human resource development cooperation in non-traditional security with other Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam. So far, the Ministries of Defence of Vietnam and Japan have agreed to carry out the first stage of this program. Accordingly, the Japanese side sends experts to Vietnam to organize short-term training courses and seminars, aiming to share experience and provide trainings on related skills. They also receives Vietnamese cadres having short-term study and fact-finding trips in Japan to learn more about their organization methods in response to non-traditional security challenges.

Furthermore, the two armies have fostered their cooperation in exchanges of information and policy study organs, and actively supported each other in the framework of multilateral cooperation.

In terms of United Nations peacekeeping operations (UNPKO), the Japanese side sent a delegation in April 2013 to exchange experience of participating in UNPKO with relevant organs of the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence.

Recently, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Defence Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh led a mission to visit a Japanese engineering company under the UN Peacekeeping Mission stationed in South Sudan.

In early 2014, Japan will cooperate with the US and Australia to share experience of UNPKO with relevant Vietnamese units in Hanoi.

Translated by Mai Huong

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