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Along with closer economic cooperation in recent years, Japan and Vietnam have been strengthening strategic ties.In late July, China reportedly threatened to attack Vietnamese bases in the Spratlys if Vietnam did not stop its oil exploration activities in an area that lies within Vietnam's continental shelf, but also within Beijing's notorious nine-dash line.In 2013, Japan's defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, visited Vietnam's Fourth Navy Zone headquarters in Cam Ranh Bay to observe Vietnam's defense setup for the Spratlys. During that visit, Japan and Vietnam agreed to expand defense cooperation into new areas, especially modernization of Vietnam's maritime defense agencies and military technology.Japan will also reportedly sell Vietnam two advanced radar-based Earth observation satellites.From Vietnam's perspective, Japan is perhaps the most important strategic partner with which to counterbalance China's maritime expansionism and constrain its hegemonic ambitions. Japan considers Vietnam a particularly promising security partner, precisely because of the countries' shared maritime security interests.Vietnam has largely overcome its grudge against Japan.
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