Japan, Vietnam to cooperate on space defense, cybersecurity amid concerns about China

Japan and Vietnam on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on cybersecurity and space defense, as both have growing concerns about China's actions in the region, according to The Associated Press.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi confirmed that the agreement seeks to address a “strong sense of urgency” concerning activities occurring in the Indo-Pacific region, though he did not specifically cite tensions with China, according to the news outlet.

Kishi expressed that recent talks with Vietnam's defense minister, Phan Van Giang, have allowed “defense cooperation between the two countries" to reach "a new level.”

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Japan's Defense Ministry has said that cyberattacks have been part of increased security threats from China. Tokyo has recently had talks about cybersecurity with Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, the AP noted. 

Japan has also partnered with Australia, the United States and others in recent years to bulk up its cybersecurity. In April, the country reportedly took part in a NATO cyberspace exercise.

Kishi also expressed concerns over joint military activities being carried out close to Japanese airspace and waters by Russia and China, the AP reported.

Two Chinese fighter jets and two Russian jets crossed from the Sea of Japan to the East China Sea and to the Pacific Ocean, causing Japan to scramble its Self-Defense Force jets. In 2019, warplanes from both China and Russia flew over Japan twice.

On Tuesday, Kishi said that Japan is committed to preserving a “free and democratic” Indo-Pacific region as well as working with the United States and other “like-minded countries that share universal values," the AP reported.