Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will visit Japan next week, becoming the first foreign leader Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will host since taking office last month, the Japanese government said Friday.

"Vietnam is a partner to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. We expect to further strengthen Japan-Vietnam relations and build personal trust between the leaders," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference. The four-day visit will start Monday.

In September, the two countries signed an agreement allowing the export of Japanese-made defense equipment and technology to Vietnam amid China's growing assertiveness in regional waters.

Kishida and Chinh also held talks in Glasgow early this month when they attended a U.N. summit on climate change. At that time, Kishida expressed "strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China seas."

China is involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea with Vietnam and other countries and also lays claim to the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi (R) and his Vietnamese counterpart Phan Van Giang shake hands in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sept. 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Defense Ministry)(Kyodo)