Japan and ASEAN have agreed to promote bilateral cooperation and their partnerships with other countries, in order to ensure peace and stability in the East Sea and East China Sea, Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said.

Vinh, who is attending the sixth ASEAN-Japan Deputy Ministers’ Meeting launched in Japan’s Yokohama city on October 7, told the Vietnam News Agency the two sides concurred that all parties should implement measures to prevent challenging situations from turning into military confrontations.

Japan and ASEAN share a number of interests in various fields, including politics, economy, security and defence. They enjoy stable relations on the basis of equality and contributions to peace, stability and security in the region and the world, he said.

The two sides also expressed their common concern over recent developments at sea, including the East Sea and East China Sea , which are attributable to the violations of international law and national sovereignty, affecting maritime security and safety, as well as freedom of trade, Vinh said.

With the aim of addressing security challenges, Japan proposed a number of specific initiatives to enhance cooperation with ASEAN member countries in non-traditional areas, such as disaster relief, piracy prevention, and search and rescue efforts.

The two sides highlighted the need to adopt a common perception on international law, and act peacefully without the use or threat to use force, Vinh stated. They agreed that if conflict happens, the parties concerned will need to hold bilateral and multilateral dialogues to settle the issue, he added.

With regard to making progress on the Japan-ASEAN ties in defence and security, the Vietnamese official said the first step for both sides is to reach a consensus on the need to strengthen security cooperation and a joint awareness of respective interests and challenges.

ASEAN and Japan have developed a deep trust in their partnership, Vinh said, adding the two sides should work together closely to develop a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

During the meeting, which focussed on reviewing the current status of maritime security in the Asian-Pacific region and the challenges the region is facing in maintaining and improving maritime security, participants agreed to increase cooperation on search and rescue efforts and the maritime defence industry.

They also highlighted the importance of developing a common perception on the conduct of parties at sea in line with international law.

Japan and ASEAN witnessed a growing security-defence cooperation in recent years. Japan was the first country to organise a defence forum and establish multilateral relations with ASEAN.-VNA