17:51 GMT17 January 2021
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    Vietnam reaffirmed that there will be no foreign military bases on its territory, but Russian experts told Sputnik that there is nothing new or astonishing about these comments which came after Russian Defense Ministry said that it was contemplating restoring Soviet-era bases in the Southeast Asian country, as well as Cuba.

    In 2002, Russia withdrew its forces from the deepwater base in Cam Ranh, which Moscow used under a 25-year leasing treaty since 1979. At the time Vietnam announced that there would be no foreign military installations on its territory and that no foreign country will be allowed to use the Cam Ranh base for military purposes. Hanoi has maintained this stance from then onward.

    Vietnamese authorities have repeatedly said that they will use the infrastructure at Cam Ran in the interests of their country, a source in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Sputnik. Russia has taken this into account. There is nothing new and nothing sensational in Hanoi's recent comments, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.

    Earlier, on Thursday, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh reaffirmed that Vietnam will "not allow any other countries to set up a military base in Vietnam."

    "There is nothing astonishing" about it, political analyst Vladimir Kolotov told Sputnik. "Vietnam is acting within its usual paradigm based on protecting national interests." The analyst explained that Vietnam's foreign policy is based on a "three no" approach – no foreign military bases on Vietnam's territory, no taking part in military blocs, no backing of one country fighting against another nation.

    Hanoi has pursued this strategy for several years, Kolotov added, saying that this approach has set Vietnam apart from its neighbors, including Thailand and the Philippines. Interestingly, the United States operates military facilities in these two countries.

    "There are no foreign bases in Vietnam. The country has used the Cam Ranh base to host foreign warships. Russian ships have visited the naval base for repairs and to resupply. Military vessels from the US and other countries have also visited the base after reaching an agreement with the authorities," he said.

    Kolotov emphasized that there was nothing sensational about Le Hai Binh's comments. "It's business as usual," he said.

    Last week, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said that the ministry was contemplating reviving its military bases in Vietnam and Cuba. "We are looking into this issue," he told the Russian State Duma, without providing any details.

    "It is surprising that the Russian Ministry of Defense is not aware of Vietnam's current foreign policy," the analyst said, commenting on Pankov's statement. The source in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared these sentiments.


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