22 July, 2024
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Russia and Vietnam: Friendship tested by time


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On the eve of my next, fifth visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, I would like to share with the readership of the ​respected and influential newspaper Nhân Dân my vision of the history, present-day state and future of the Russian-Vietnamese partnership.

It is symbolic that our upcoming visit to Vietnam will take place around the date that marks the 30th anniversary of the Russian-Vietnamese Treaty on Foundations of Friendly Relations. This strategic document opened up vast opportunities to strengthen and develop the whole range of bilateral ties, giving them a powerful impetus and increasing their dynamics at the new historical stage.

Hồ Chí Minh, the great son of the Vietnamese people and a good friend of our country, stood at the origins of our bilateral cooperation. Russia honours the memory of this outstanding patriot, politician and statesman who always firmly and uncompromisingly defended the sovereignty and freedom of his Homeland. I would like to note that a monument to the first President of Vietnam was erected last year in St Petersburg to commemorate the centenary of his visit to Russia’s “northern capital.”

Our country significantly contributed to the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people against foreign invaders. After the victory and complete liberation of the Vietnamese territory from the occupiers, it was Soviet builders, engineers, doctors, teachers and scientists who helped rebuild Vietnam. They put in a lot of effort to develop its economic and defence potential and address top social priorities.

These time-proven traditions of fellowship and mutual support provide a solid foundation for furthering the bilateral relations of comprehensive strategic partnership.

Vietnam is a vibrant and unique ancient civilization adding to the tapestry of a multipolar world. Hanoi pursues an independent foreign policy in the global arena and strongly advocates a just world order based on international law and principles of equality of all states and non-interference in their internal affairs.

We highly appreciate the fact that our countries have coinciding or similar approaches to pressing issues on the international agenda. We work closely together within key international forums, first of all within the United Nations. We have similar assessments of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region. We see Vietnam as a like-minded partner in shaping a new architecture of equal and indivisible Eurasian security on an inclusive and non-discriminatory basis.

We are grateful to our Vietnamese friends for their balanced position on the Ukraine crisis and their desire to facilitate the search for practical ways to settle it peacefully. All of this is fully in line with the spirit and nature of our relations.

It is important that the two countries have consistently given serious attention to enhancing mutual trade and promoting investment. Thus, according to Russian statistics, bilateral trade increased by eight percent in 2023, and gained more than a third in the first quarter of the current year compared to the same period last year. Food, mineral resources, machinery and equipment are exported to Vietnam. Many Vietnamese goods, including clothing, fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products, are in demand on the Russian market. The 2015 Free Economic Trade Agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and Vietnam helps reinforce and further develop these positive trends.

The possibility exists for our countries to carry out settlements in national currencies – the Russian ruble and the Vietnamese dong. Such transactions accounted for more than 40 percent of bilateral trade last year, and in the first quarter of this year their share rose to almost 60 percent. This is in keeping with the global trend towards phasing out the use of widely discredited currencies in international trade and investment. A major role in ensuring reliable financial settlements is played by the Vietnam-Russia Joint Venture Bank, whose opening ceremony I attended back in 2006. We hope that the Bank will continue its work, contributing actively to the strengthening of economic collaboration between our states.

The energy sector remains a strategically important area of bilateral cooperation. The Vietsovpetro joint venture, which has been exploring deposits on Vietnam’s continental shelf for more than four decades, has proved highly efficient. The volume of oil it has produced over the years has exceeded 250 million tonnes. Rusvietpetro, a joint venture company established in 2008, is successfully operating in Russia’s Nenets Autonomous Area. It has already extracted over 35 million tonnes of oil in the harsh conditions of the Far North. Gazprom, in its turn, is engaged in gas extraction in Vietnam, while another major Russian company, NOVATEK, intends to implement LNG projects on the Vietnamese territory.

An initiative is being considered to create a Centre of Nuclear Science and Technology in Vietnam with Rosatom’s assistance. In this regard, I would like to note that the Russian state corporation is essentially ready to help Vietnamese partners develop their national nuclear power industry, including in terms of building its human capacity.

Our country has traditionally contributed a great deal to the development of Vietnam’s hydropower potential. For example, RusHydro is interested in joining the project to reconstruct and increase the capacity of hydropower facilities on Vietnam’s rivers.

The Gaz Thanh Dat joint venture to assemble Russian GAZ brand automobiles is expanding its operations in Da Nang.

We expect that Vietnamese investors will, in turn, more actively use the ample opportunities offered by the Russian market. The Vietnamese company TH Group, which is constructing milk processing plants in the Moscow and Kaluga regions and in the Primorye Territory, is one example.

And I certainly cannot but mention the long-standing traditions of bilateral cooperation in education. Over the past decades, tens of thousands of Vietnamese specialists in various fields have received training or upgraded their skills in our country, and several thousand have obtained academic degrees. We intend to further prioritize partnership in this area. This includes further offering education opportunities at Russian universities to Vietnamese citizens at the expense of the federal budget. We will do our best to promote student exchanges, launch joint academic projects and programmes. The Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technology Centre, which has been engaged in applied and fundamental research for many years, provides a vivid example of such positive cooperation between our countries.

We will definitely continue to develop humanitarian contacts. I know that many Vietnamese understand and love Russian music, literature and cinema. And Russian people show genuine interest in original Vietnamese art. The Days of Vietnamese Culture in Russia, to be held early next month, will provide a better glimpse.

Tourism is a sure way to promote mutual understanding between our peoples. Vietnam has long become a popular holiday destination for Russians, and Vietnamese citizens have always been attracted by our country’s tourist sights. An increase in the number of direct flights would help intensify mutual tourist flows.

Together with our Vietnamese friends, we will continue to develop bilateral ties and cooperation for the benefit of our peoples, for stability and prosperity in the region and the world as a whole. I am confident that our countries, relying on the best traditions of friendship, mutual trust and mutual assistance, will achieve all our ambitious goals.

I wish the people of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam peace, well-being and prosperity.

This article first appeared in Nhân Dân, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.

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