Japan will give Vietnam six used vessels as part of an aid package to help the Southeast Asian country improve its maritime security.
The deal signed Friday by visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Vietnam's planning and investment minister, Bui Quang Vinh, is worth about $5 million. The vessels will be accompanied by training and equipment to help the Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance effort.
The aid comes as relations between Vietnam and China plunged to their lowest point in years following China's deployment of a giant oil rig in early May near the Paracel islands, also claimed by Vietnam.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, bringing it into conflict with others in the region, including Japan.