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Defence cooperation – pillar of Vietnam-Russia relations

Developing the comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia is a top priority of Vietnam, with defence cooperation as a pillar of the bilateral relationship, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich said on February 5.

During his talks with Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Lich affirmed that Vietnamese people and army always keep in mind and grateful for the great support and assistance from their Russian counterparts during the past struggle against foreign aggressors for national liberation, as well as the help of the Russian State and army during the current cause of national construction and defence.

He, therefore, highlighted Vietnam’s consistent policy of enhancing the solidarity, friendship and comprehensive strategic cooperation with Russia, which is also the top priority in the foreign policy of the Vietnamese Party, State and army.

Lich lauded the Russian Defence Ministry’s engagement in regional security mechanisms, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying the practical and effective collaboration will contribute to intensifying trust, and handling and preventing security challenges, particularly non-traditional ones.

As the Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in the 2020-2021 tenure, Vietnam will continue to coordinate with Russia and partner countries to realise the set targets, and back Russia’s efforts in expanding cooperation with the ASEAN, for peace, stability and development.

The minister took this occasion to applaud the Russian Defence Ministry’s role in the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Centre.

For his part, Shoigu stressed the significance of Lich’s visit, saying it contributed to the enhancement of the comprehensive strategic partnership, especially in the context that the two countries are celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the diplomatic ties (January 30, 1950).

Russia always considers Vietnam a traditional friend and an important strategic partner in the region, he said, adding that the enhancement of the comprehensive cooperation will benefit people of both countries and help to maintain peace, stability and development in each region and the world. 

Russia prioritises developing cooperative relations with Vietnam, including defence collaboration, Shoigu noted.

The two ministers shared their views on the progress of defence ties that have contributed to consolidating political trust between the two countries.

They said the exchange of delegation at all levels and cooperation mechanisms such as defence policy dialogues and working groups have been maintained, military technology cooperation through the Inter-Governmental Committee has proven effective, and cooperation in personnel training has remained a bright spot in defence ties.

Lich and Shoigu agreed to forge the defence cooperation on the basis of the mutual trust and signed documents, especially a joint vision statement signed during the Vietnamese minister’s visit.

The two sides will increase the exchange of viewpoints on issues of share concern regarding national defence and security, step up defence links in traditional fields, and strengthen military technology cooperation sustainably and equally, for mutual benefits.

Lich said the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence will support and join hands with its Russian counterpart to successfully fulfill their role as co-chairs of the ADMM+ experts’ working group on counterterrorism during the 2020-2023 period, while creating consensus among the ASEAN on Russia’s proposals in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

He invited Shoigu to pay an official visit to Vietnam and attend ADMM+ as well as the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of ADMM+.

At the end of the talks, the two ministers signed the joint vision statement on Vietnam-Russia defence cooperation for 2020-2025. The statement is of significance as it supplements the inked cooperation documents and contributes to orienting the bilateral defence ties, for the sake of people of the two countries, and for peace, stability and cooperation in the region and the world.

The same day, Lich visited and talked with the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy in Russia.

Earlier, Lich and his entourage paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his statue in Moscow and laid wreaths at the monument for unknown martyrs next to the Kremlin Palace.

During his official trip to Russia, Lich also met with Director of Russia's Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and received Russian war veterans who helped Vietnam during the struggle for national liberation.