Japanese Warships Arrive in Vietnam to Join Drills in South China Sea

© REUTERS / Toru HanaiJapan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer Kurama (L), which is carrying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leads the JMSDF fleet during its fleet review at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer Kurama (L), which is carrying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leads the JMSDF fleet during its fleet review at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo - Sputnik International
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Two ships of the the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) arrived on Tuesday in the Vietnamese naval base of Cam Ranh Bay in the South China Sea to join the naval drills aimed at keeping a check on China amid territorial disputes, media reported.

TOKYO (Sputnik) — According to the Kyodo news agency, the purpose of the drills is to contain China's influence, which has recently been increasing its military presence in the South China Sea in the vicinity of the disputed Xisha Islands, or Paracel Islands, and Nansha, or the Spratly Islands.

The Paracel Islands are controlled by China while being claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. The Spratly Islands are contested by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

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Last year, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh agreed during the talks in Hanoi that a JMSDF vessel will make a port call at Cam Ranh Bay, as well as agreed to conduct joint defense drills. Nakatani then personally visited the Cam Ranh Bay Naval Base, and expressed interest in using the facility by the Japanese ships.

In February, a JMSDF team conducted joint exercises with the Vietnamese Navy for three days in the Southeast Asian country and nearby waters.

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