Japan delivered on Tuesday two used ships to the Vietnamese Coast Guard to help the Southeast Asian country strengthen maritime security, reports the Japan Times.
The two 600-ton vessels, provided in a ceremony in the city of Da Nang, will be refurbished into patrol boats in disputed waters of the South China
The ships are the second delivery of a 2014 deal for Tokyo to provide Vietnam with six used fishing vessels that will be converted into patrol ships for Vietnam's coast guard and fisheries ministry.
The Abe administration agreed last year to provide Vietnam with six used ships to help Hanoi cope with heightened tensions in the South China Sea.
Two were delivered earlier and the remaining two will arrive by the end of this year.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled
the plan to provide additional used ships during a meeting with Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Tokyo in September.
The Japanese ships follow a U.S. pledge to provide at least five refurbished fast patrol ships to improve Vietnam's Coast Guard.
China continues to defend its maritime boundary claims in the South China Sea in response to United States warships sailing near the Spratly Islands -- where it has reportedly constructed two artificial islands on Subi and Mischief reefs.