1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Russia, Vietnam pledge to deepen ties as Putin visits

June 20, 2024

After signing a defense deal with North Korea, Russian President Vladimir Putin has met Vietnam's leaders to discuss trade, defense and the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin flanked by Vietnamese dignitaries as he arrives at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam
Putin has praised Vietnam's stance on Russia's war in UkraineImage: Minh Hoang/AP Photo/picture alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a series of deals in Vietnam on Thursday after talks with President To Lam. Hanoi is Putin's final stop on the two-nation tour, during which he first visited North Korea and signed a defense deal with leader Kim Jong Un.

Vietnam is the third country Putin has visited since being sworn in for his fifth term in May, after China and North Korea. It is his first visit to Vietnam since 2017, though he visited four times before that.

Putin, Lam hail ties during visit

During the visit, Lam congratulated Putin on his March re-election and praised him for achieving "domestic political stability."

"Once again, congratulations to our comrade for receiving overwhelming support during the recent presidential election, underlining the confidence of the Russian people," Lam said.

Putin signed a series of deals with Lam to further cooperation on education, science and technology, oil and gas exploration and health as Moscow looks to bolster relations with Asian nations amid growing international isolation as a result of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Russian state news agency RIA reported that a joint Russian-Vietnamese statement had spoken of the special place that defense and security matters played in bilateral ties.

"The two sides want to push up cooperation in defense and security, how to deal with non-traditional security challenges on the basis of international law, for peace and security in the region and the world," Lam told reporters following talks with Putin.

Putin said that strengthening its "comprehensive strategic partnership" with Vietnam was one of Moscow's priorities, adding that Moscow was ready to cooperate with Vietnam on energy and security.

Putin said that he respected dialogue with the Southeast Asian regional bloc ASEAN, in which he said Vietnam played a major role.

He said that Russian companies were ready to invest in LNG projects in Vietnam.

What is on the agenda?

Putin arrived in the capital, Hanoi, early Thursday morning. He was met by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha and later met Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The Russian president is also meeting Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, widely seen as Vietnam's most influential politician.

Apart from talks with top officials, Putin is set to attend wreath-laying ceremonies, including at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which has the embalmed corpse of Vietnam's founding leader of the same name.

Vietnam has abstained from condemning Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine as per its neutral foreign policy, known as "bamboo diplomacy." In an opinion piece, Putin commended the nation for supporting "a pragmatic way to solve the crisis" in Ukraine, said Vietnam's Communist Party newspaper.

Hanoi and Moscow have had ties since the 1950s. Russia used to be one of Vietnam's top arms suppliers. 

"Russia and Vietnam have a mutual interest in resuming arms sales, but Vietnam is hamstrung by the threat of US sanctions," Carl Thayer, emeritus professor of politics at Australia's University of New South Wales, told the AFP news agency.

Putin and Kim meet at peak of inter-Korean tension: Journalist Yee-un Shin

kb, tg, sdi/sms (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)