Vietnam, Russia to deepen comprehensive strategic partnership
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is paying an official visit to Russia from November 29 to December 2 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, aimed at giving fresh impetus to the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership.
Vietnam and Russia established diplomatic ties 71 years ago. They lifted their relationship to the level of the strategic partnership in 2001 and the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2012.
Bilateral relations have developed considerably over the past time. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries have regularly maintained high-level online contact and phone calls to promote bilateral cooperation.
During their phone call in September 2021, President Phuc and President Putin discussed measures to further strengthen the Vietnam - Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, including in COVID-19 prevention and control.
Oil and gas is considered a success story in bilateral cooperation, with the Vietnam – Russia Oil and Gas Joint Venture Enterprise (Vietsovpetro) expected to operate until 2030. Large Russian oil and gas groups such as Gazprom, Rosneft and many other enterprises are implementing a number of cooperation projects in Vietnam. Meanwhile, in Russia the Rusvietpetro Petroleum Joint Venture is implementing an oil and gas exploration project in the Nhenhetxky Autonomous Region.
In 2020, two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Russia reached nearly US$5 billion. Major Vietnamese exports included telephones, electronics, textiles, footwear, and agricultural and aquatic products. Its major imports were coal, wheat, iron and steel, fertilizers, automobiles, machinery and equipment.
The signing of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2016 opened up numerous opportunities for trade cooperation between Vietnam and Russia.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that there are about 940 Vietnamese businesses exporting products to the Eurasian Economic Union, but Russia accounts for more than 90% of the total trade turnover between Vietnam and the EAEU.
Besides economic cooperation, Russia is also an important leading partner of Vietnam in the field of military technology. The two sides also promote cooperation in science and technology, education, culture, tourism, local cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges.
In 2019, more than 660,000 Russian tourists visited Vietnam, making Russia the largest European tourist market for Vietnam. In addition, with 40,000 Vietnamese officials and experts trained in the former Soviet Union, 80,000 Vietnamese people living and working in Russia and about 5,000 Vietnamese students studying in Russia, they serve to foster cooperative relations between the two countries.
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam presented Russia with masks and some medical supplies. Russia also provided Vietnam with about 15,000 doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine and a number of treatment drugs and medical supplies.
Many Russian experts believe that President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s current visit to Russia is of great significance that will help strengthen existing cooperation programmes and open up new cooperation directions between the two countries. Russia attaches great importance to bilateral relations with Vietnam, as well as with ASEAN - an organization in which Vietnam plays a very important role.
Russia supports Vietnam’s stance on settling disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means, without using force or threatening to use force, on the basis of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 1982 (UNCLOS).
During an interview with Russian media ahead of his visit, President Phuc noted the visit demonstrates the importance the Vietnamese Party, State and people attach to bilateral ties as well as President Putin, a close friend of Vietnamese people.
He said he and President Putin will review the Vietnam-Russia relations and seek major strategic orientations to elevate the comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights across all spheres.
The visit is also expected to boost bilateral cooperation in COVID-19 prevention and control, especially in promoting Russia’s support for vaccine production and technology transfer.