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Friendship, cooperation with Russia a priceless asset: NA leader

National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan attended a plenary session of the Federation Council of Russia and delivered a speech there on December 11, affirming the traditional friendship and cooperation with Russia is a priceless asset that Vietnam is determined to treasure and bring into play.

Addressing the session, held during her official visit to Russia, the top legislator said almost 70 years ago, on January 30, 1950, the then Soviet Union set up diplomatic relationship with Vietnam, becoming one of the first countries to do so with the Southeast Asian nation.

She recalled the strong support the Soviet Union’s people gave to Vietnam during the struggle to defend and reunify the nation, and affirmed that Vietnam always keeps in mind and respects the wholehearted assistance from the Soviet Union’s people, including the Russian people, for its fight for national independence and reunification.

She also attributed the reconstruction and development of Vietnam partly to the Vietnam-Russia solidarity, noting that the Soviet Union and Russia have helped the country train tens of thousands of cadres and build major structures of top importance to Vietnam’s socio-economic development.

Bilateral relations were lifted to the strategic partnership in 2001 and the comprehensive strategic partnership – the highest relationship framework of Vietnam – in 2012, marking a breakthrough development in the countries’ connections, she said.

On that basis, Vietnam-Russia ties have enjoyed strong strides in the recent past, the chairwoman stressed, highlighting the high political trust and cooperation mechanisms established in all fields.

Economic links have been growing unceasingly with bilateral trade hitting a record of 4.5 billion USD in 2018 and 3.4 billion USD in the first nine months of 2019. Vietnam was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Russia is a key member. Additionally, bilateral investment has continued to be expanded with many large projects, including those on oil and gas, carried out in both countries, according to the NA leader.

She added that cooperation in defence and security has been increased while the people-to-people exchange has also continually been enhanced. More and more young Vietnamese have chosen Russia to study in. Meanwhile, Vietnam remains a popular destination for Russian tourists with more than 600,000 people from Russia visiting the Southeast Asian nation in 2018, and the figure approximated 500,000 in the first nine months of this year.

It is hard to find any country that the Vietnamese people have such profound sentiment for like Russia, and this comes from not only political and economic partnerships but also the similarities in the two peoples’ soul and emotions as reflected through cultural exchanges and connectivity, Ngan noted.

The Vietnamese leader went on to say that in the sound relations of the two countries, parliamentary cooperation has been intensified unceasingly.

During the trip to Vietnam in December 2018 by Chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav V. Volodin, the two sides inked a cooperation agreement on the establishment of an inter-parliamentary cooperation committee between the Vietnamese NA and the State Duma of Russia. This committee is the highest form of cooperation of the Vietnamese legislature, Ngan said.

She emphasised that amid the complex developments and many potential risks in the international and regional situation, the continued enhancement of the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership is not only an objective requirement but also the aspiration of the two countries’ leaders and peoples. It is also a factor helping ensure the success of each nation’s reforms and development while contributing to peace, stability, cooperation, development and prosperity in the region and the world.

Chairwoman Ngan underlined Vietnam’s appreciation of Russia’s stance on the East Sea issue, which is supporting the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, so as to help maintain peace, stability, freedom, safety and security of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, as well as supporting the full and serious implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the early finalisation of a code of conduct in the waters.

She repeated Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong’s statement that Vietnam’s consistent policy is to always attach importance to and further strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia, and consider Russia one of the leading partners. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin also described Vietnam as a leading partner of his country in the Asia-Pacific region.

As Chair of ASEAN and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) in 2020, Vietnam will continue reinforcing the strategic partnership between ASEAN and Russia and help promote Russia’s voice and stature in the region, she noted, adding that as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, it will also keep working closely with Russia.

The NA leader expressed her belief that the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership will keep developing and overcome every challenge and difficulty to match their long-standing friendship.

In that process, their parliaments will continue playing a crucial role in making favourable legal frameworks, increasing supervision and stepping up the implementation of cooperation agreements and projects. They will also coordinate with each other more closely at international inter-parliamentary forums for the sake of the two peoples, as well as for peace, cooperation, development and prosperity in the region and the world, she said.

The speech by NA Chairwoman Ngan was broadcast live on the TV channel of the Federation Council (