HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida discussed the war in Ukraine with Vietnamese leaders on Sunday and said they agreed to respect international law and reject the use of force.
Japan condemned the Russian invasion and joined Western countries in imposing sanctions on Moscow. Vietnam, like most other Southeast Asian countries, avoided directly criticizing Russia and called for restraint, respect for the UN Charter, and dialogue to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Vietnam abstained from a vote at the United Nations General Assembly in March, which condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Vietnam is one of Moscow’s historical allies, and the Vietnamese army is mostly equipped with Russian weapons. It also has strong ties to Ukraine, where about 10,000 Vietnamese live, work and study. In recent years, Vietnam has forged closer relations with the United States in opposition to China’s vast territorial claims in the South China Sea.
“We cannot accept measures to change the status quo by force in any region of the world,” Kishida said after talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chin.
Kishida also criticized China’s actions in the South China Sea, where Beijing has created artificial islands and turned them into military outposts to advance its territorial claims that have been rejected by its smaller neighbors.