18:34 GMT18 January 2021
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    Russia and Vietnam are keen to develop bilateral ties and signed several investment deals during Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang's first official visit to Moscow.

    On Wednesday, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang arrived in Moscow for his first official visit. On Thursday, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed the development of bilateral economic ties.

    "We have agreed on more than 20 large joint investment projects worth around $10 billion," Putin told journalists after the meeting.

    Important areas of development are the energy, pharmaceuticals and agricultural sectors. The joint Russian-Vietnamese enterprise Vietsovpetro is the eighth largest company in Vietnam and produces one-third of the country's oil.

    In addition, the Russian power plant company Power Machines is building a thermoelectric power station in Vietnam, and Russian companies are helping their Vietnamese colleagues with the development of a Vietnamese center for nuclear science and technology. 

    A free trade agreement between Hanoi and the Eurasian Economic Union that came into force in October last year has also stimulated an increase in bilateral trade between Russia and Vietnam. Over the first four months of this year, the trade turnover between the two countries was 16.5 percent higher than the same period last year.

    "Vietnamese producers were the first to receive privileged access to the Russian and Eurasian Economic Union markets," the Russian President said, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported.

    Petr Tsvetov, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told RT Russian that the visit is an important opportunity to develop an important partnership for Moscow.

    "If we’re serious about strengthening ourselves in this region, which is seen as the center of the world's economy and politics, then we need to develop our relations with Vietnam. Out of all the ASEAN countries, Vietnam presents the greatest opportunities thanks to our long relationship that dates back to Soviet times." 

    Tsvetov said that Russia is an important supplier of military equipment to Vietnam, which is important to Hanoi given the tense situation in the South China Sea.

    "We remain the largest supplier of arms, military technology and spare parts for military equipment to Vietnam," Tsvetov said.

    "In the complicated military-political situation in the South China Sea and in South-East Asia in general, our weapons deliveries are a certain guarantee of security for Vietnam," the analyst said.

    Russia's rockets and anti-aircraft systems have always been held in high esteem with Vietnamese armed forces. Back in the summer of 1965, Dvina Soviet anti-aircraft systems were deployed in Vietnam to counter the US' aggression during the Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War.

    "For decades, Vietnam and Russia have maintained close and effective military tech cooperation. In this field, Russia is Vietnam's largest, most important, most reliable and most trustworthy partner," the Vietnam People's Armed Forces Colonel Nguyen Khac Nguyet told Sputnik Vietnamese.

    "Russia provides Vietnam with modern high-tech weapons to protect the country. During the course of two wars of resistance against foreign aggressors [the First Indochina war and the Second Indochina war] Russian weapons had proven [themselves] corresponding to the military school of Vietnam, the strategy and tactics of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces [VPAF]," the Colonel said.

    Col. Nguyen drew attention to the fact that Russian weapons have certain advantages over their foreign analogues.

    "They are easier and safer to use, they are cheaper and possess greater destructive power. [Therefore] although Vietnam… can purchase arms worldwide, the VPAF buys the most weapons from Russia," he noted.


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