Russian PM’s Vietnam visit promotes result-oriented cooperation

Prime Minister of Russia D.A.Medvedev’s official visit to Vietnam from November 18-19 looks to continue stepping up ties across politics, economy, trade, national defence-security, science-technology, education-training, culture, tourism, and locality-to-locality exchange between the two countries.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and his Russian counterpart D.A.Medvedev (Source: VNA)
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and his Russian counterpart D.A.Medvedev (Source: VNA)

The visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, takes place at a time when the two countries will celebrate the Vietnam Year in Russia and Russia Year in Vietnam during 2019-2020, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on fundamental principles of Vietnam – Russia friendly relations in 2019 and the 70th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2020.

On March 1, 2001, Vietnam and Russia signed a joint statement on strategic partnership. Later on July 27, 2012, both sides issued a joint statement on further strengthening bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.

Over the past years, Vietnam – Russia political ties with high trust have been incessantly strengthened. The exchange of high-level visits has created a strong foundation to develop comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations.

Both sides established the annual diplomatic-defence-security strategic dialogue mechanism at the permanent deputy ministerial level in 2008 and a strategic dialogue mechanism at the defence deputy ministerial level in 2013. They also conducted regular political consultations at the deputy ministerial level within the framework of cooperation between the two foreign ministries.

The two countries have maintained the Inter-Governmental Committee on military technical cooperation at the defence deputy ministerial level. Russia is now the top important partner of Vietnam in the field. Both sides launched the first defence strategic dialogue at the deputy ministerial level in December 2013, the second in March 2016 and the third in November 2017.

Sharing the same views on many regional and global issues, the countries agreed to work closely together at international forums such as the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the ASEAN Regional Forum. Russia backed Vietnam’s run for a seat at the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the 2016-2018 tenure while Vietnam also supported Russia’s bid for 2017-2019.

Vietnam actively assisted Russia in joining ASEM in October 2010 and the East Asia Summit in 2011.

On economic-trade ties, the two nations maintained the operation of the Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic, Trade and Scientific-Technological Cooperation which was established in 1992. In October 2018, the committee convened the 21st meeting in Moscow. The Vietnam – Russia Business Council was set up to facilitate bilateral trade and investment. The two countries recognised each other as market economies in 2007.

Two-way trade rose from US$2.2 billion in 2015 to $2.7 billion in 2016 and $3.55 billion in 2017. Vietnam mostly exports mobile phones, apparel, farm produce, and seafood to Russia while importing petroleum, iron and steel, fertiliser, machinery and equipment.

Russia now ranks 23rd among countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 116 projects worth a total of $990 billion, mostly in oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, transportation, telecommunications, and aquaculture.

Vietnam currently invests in 22 projects worth nearly $3 billion in Russia, predominantly in Rusvietpetro and Gazpromviet oil and gas ventures, Hanoi – Moscow cultural-trade centre, TH True Milk’s milch farming and agriculture, among others.

As energy brings significant revenues to the two State budgets, Rusvietpetro, Vietgazprom and Gazpromviet ventures were established to expand oil and gas projects in Vietnam, Russia and the third countries, apart from Vietsovpetro.

On cultural exchange, Cultural Days in Vietnam and Russia are held annually and alternately. Russia remains among the top 10 sources of tourist arrivals in Vietnam. The number of Russian tourists soared from 176,000 in 2012 to 300,000 in 2013, 364,000 in 2014, 340,000 in 2015, 430,000 in 2016 and 570,000 in 2017.

In the past, Russia offered training courses to nearly 40,000 Vietnamese officials and experts in diverse areas. In 2011, Russia provided 345 tertiary and post-tertiary scholarships for Vietnamese students, which rose to 400 in 2012 and 70 others for nuclear experts, 600 ones in 2014, 795 in 2015, 855 in 2016 and 953 in 2017. More than 5,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Russia.

Both sides conducted about 60 research and technological transfer projects while joint work at the Vietnam – Russia Tropical Centre have brought about positive outcomes.

The two countries’ localities established cooperative ties, especially between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Moscow, Saint Petersburg. In November 2013, the Hanoi – Moscow Centre for Culture, Trade and Hotel was inaugurated in Moscow.

About 60,000 – 80,000 Vietnamese nationals have been living and working in Russia for nearly two decades, contributing to the host country’s development.

Since 1991, over 100 cooperation documents were signed in the fields of economy, trade, investment, oil and gas, nuclear power, education-training, science and culture, and military technology.

Vietnam has attached importance to stepping up its comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia in a result-oriented, sustainable and efficient manner.