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January 17, 2022, 10:44 am

Vietnam - Russia relations in a special time

(14:17:17 PM 29/11/2014)
( - At the invitation of Russian President V. Putin, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid an official visit to Russia on November 23-26. This was his first visit to Russia as Party Chief.

Vietnam - Russia relations in a special time

Photo: The welcome ceremony for General Secretary Nguyen PhuTrong at the Vnukovo 2 airport. Photo: VNA


The visit took place as Russia is implementing the “Look East” strategy to strengthen ties with Asian countries in order to reduce pressure from the "sanctions" imposed by the US and Western Europe due to the Ukraine issue. Also, the visit was made after the Vietnam - Russia relations were raised to a new level - a comprehensive strategic partnership from July 2012.

Reviewing the major landmark in the relationship between Vietnam and Russia for over a decade, we can see that in February-March 2001, President Putin made the first visit to Vietnam as the Russian chief of state. And with the signing of the Joint Declaration on Russia-Vietnam Strategic Partnership, the visit has opened a new page in the history of the bilateral relations between the two nations: the strategic partnership.

After more than a decade the two countries have made many great efforts to develop the bilateral relationship, and the ties have been raised to a new level – a comprehensive strategic partnership, which was recorded in the Joint Statement signed by President Truong Tan Sang and his Russian counterpart V. Putin during Mr. Sang’s visit to Russia in July 2012.

Preserving and promoting the traditional relationships between the two peoples, which originated from the early 20th century and have been challenged and forged through the war of resistance for independence and national unity of the Vietnamese people, the friendship between the two peoples of Vietnam  and Russia has been increasingly consolidated and developed on the principle of mutual benefit, non-interference in the internal affairs of each other, and respect for the independence and sovereignty of each country for peace and security in the region and the world.

Vietnam-Russia bilateral relations are based on the following solid basis:

Firstly, credibility – the most important thing

Vietnamese and Russian top leaders have exchanged visits frequently. Since 2001, President V. Putin visited Vietnam for three times. Former President and now Prime Minister D. Medvedev also paid two official visits to Vietnam. Officials at various levels have often met to discuss cooperation and measures to accelerate cooperation between the two countries. The two deputy foreign ministries have met regularly every year to discuss strategic issues and coordination in the international arena.

The special features of Vietnam-Russia bilateral relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union is that relations were no longer based on ideology but on the principle of mutual trust and mutual benefit.

Former President and current PM D. Medvedev said: "Russia and Vietnam are close friends and strategic partners of each other."

Dr. Gregory Lokshin, a Russian analyst of international politics, commented on the nature of Russia-Vietnam relations today: "It's absolutely not a military alliance. It is joint action and coordination, unified effort under the common goal of development, finding solutions for common problems, and dealing with the common challenges of our time."

Russia's stance on resolving territorial disputes in Asia - Pacific in general and in the East Sea is reflected in the Joint Declaration issued during the official visit of President Truong Tan Sang to Russia in July 2012 as follows: "The two sides believe that the territorial disputes and other disputes in the Asia-Pacific space should be resolved by peaceful means on, without the use of force or threat of use of force, on the basis of existing international law, particularly the United Nations Charter and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. The two sides support the full implementation of the Declaration of parties on the Conduct in the East Sea in 2002 and towards the establishment of the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea."

Secondly, mutual benefit – the basic principles of relationships

Currently, two-way trade turnover is still very modest, nearly $4 billion, but it was a huge step compared to $200-$300 million in the early 90s. The two countries have set a target to reach $5 billion in 2015 and $10 billion by 2020.

The mechanism of this relationship has changed radically, from ask-give to mutual benefit. This mechanism worked effectively, especially in the oil and gas industry, when Vietnam has invested in a number of oil fields in Siberia.

Russia-Vietnam cooperation is also reflected in "sensitive" fields such as security and defense. Former Soviet Union and Russia today is still a reliable partner of Vietnam in providing the necessary facilities, including submarines, to ensure Vietnam’s security.

Russia is also willing to cooperate with Vietnam in the field of science and technologies such as the construction of the first nuclear power plants in Vietnam and training nuclear-power scientists for Vietnam.

The community of Vietnamese in Russia and Russian in Vietnam is also an important issue of any meeting between Vietnamese-Russian officials.

Leaders of the two countries always recognize the tremendous contributions of Vietnamese citizens in Russia and Russian citizens in Vietnam to maintain and strengthen the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries and the two peoples. They have agreed to create favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Russia and the Russian community in Vietnam in accordance with the laws of each country and the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnerships.

At present and in the future, the relations between Vietnam and Russia must be accelerated to reach new heights in order to meet the interests of the two peoples, for peace and stability in the world.

Under this perspective, the visit of General Secretary Nguyen PhuTrong was enormously meaningful as it confirms the objective, durable and effective relationships between the two sides; set the new direction, missions and objectives for the next stages, thereby overcoming the difficulties and problems, especially in the economic cooperation to implement more effectively the comprehensive strategic partnership.

Le Thanh Van/ Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

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