Japan woos Vietnam amid shared China concerns
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Japan's prime minister promised closer security and economic ties with Vietnam today, bolstering an alliance that shares concerns over rising Chinese territorial assertiveness in regional waters.
On his first overseas tour since he was elected, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, three South-east Asian nations that are major manufacturing bases and growing markets for Japanese companies as the government seeks to grow its moribund economy.
The region is gaining in importance as manufacturers seek to balance risks from their investments in China, where anti-Japanese riots sparked by tensions over a disputed island in the East China Sea have hammered exports and prompted boycotts of some Japanese products.
While less explosive, tensions between Vietnam and China have also been rising over Beijing's claims over the resource-rich South China Sea, much of which Hanoi says belongs to it.