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President on Asia trip: Russia and Vietnam deepen cooperation

President on Asia trip: Russia and Vietnam deepen cooperation
President on Asia trip: Russia and Vietnam deepen cooperation

Kremlin chief Putin can no longer travel everywhere; there is an international arrest warrant. But he is welcome in Vietnam. Many people there remember the wonderful time they spent studying in Moscow.

Russia has deepened cooperation with its long-time ally Vietnam during a visit by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin to Hanoi. Both sides published a joint statement and concluded more than ten agreements on the economy, education, energy and science, the Russian side announced.

Vietnam in Southeast Asia has been a major Russian arms customer for decades, and there are important joint energy projects. Recently, however, the communist-led country has also sought closer contacts with its former wartime enemy, the USA. It is the only country that has been visited by US President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin within the last twelve months.

Russia: Comprehensively expand strategic partnership

“Vietnam is our reliable partner and friend,” Putin said. Russia is determined to expand the strategic partnership comprehensively. The Kremlin chief spoke with the Secretary General of the Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, at whose invitation he was in Hanoi, with President To Lam and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

“I remember the great and beautiful country of Russia with warm feelings,” said Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong, who, like many members of the Vietnamese leadership, studied in the former Soviet Union. President To Lam spoke of the great basis of trust between the two countries.

Arrest warrant issued against Putin

It is to be expected that the Kremlin chief will want to expand trade relations and pressure Vietnam to buy weapons from Russia, Vietnam expert Carl Thayer, a former professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told the German Press Agency.

At the same time, Putin wants to show that he is not isolated internationally despite the war of aggression against Ukraine. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for Putin in 2023 for alleged war crimes in Ukraine; he can now only visit his closest allies, where he is not at risk of arrest.

Moscow’s international arms customers have become more hesitant since the Ukraine war proved that many Russian weapons are less effective than expected. Vietnam is primarily interested in aircraft technology and naval shipbuilding, said Dmitri Shugaev, head of Russian arms cooperation, according to the Tass agency.

Vietnam’s neutral stance in the Ukraine war

The Ukrainian ambassador in Hanoi, Olexander Haman, told the dpa that he did not expect Vietnam to give up its neutral stance on the war and support Russia. One of the principles of Vietnamese security policy is not to take sides. The joint statement reaffirmed Vietnam’s neutral stance in the Ukraine war.

The first stop on Putin’s Asian tour in North Korea was specifically about support for the war against Ukraine that he ordered. According to Western information, Russia is buying ammunition and weapons in the isolated communist country.

What is less clear is what technical assistance Russia is providing to North Korea in return. This is viewed with suspicion by Western countries, but also by China. Pyongyang is working on its own nuclear weapons. Putin and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un signed a strategic partnership agreement.

Source: Stern

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