Nov 26, 2021 / 12:59

Vietnamese President leaves for Switzerland, Russia visits

Switzerland is one of the few countries having provided official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam over the past three decades while Russia was among the first countries establishing ties with Hanoi.

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife left Hanoi for official visits to Switzerland and Russia from November 25 to December 2 at the invitation of Swiss President Guy Parmelin and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife leave Hanoi for Switzerland and Russia.

The visit to Switzerland (from November 25 to 29) takes place on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of the Vietnam-Switzerland diplomatic relations, marking Phuc’s first European visit after taking office in July 2021. It affirms Vietnam’s diplomacy, which focuses on multilateralism and its contributions to the multilateral agendas and enhances bilateral relations to make them substantive.

Vietnam and Switzerland have exchanged high-ranking contacts over the past years. In September 2021, Phuc met Guy Parmelin on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In August, Ignazio Cassis, Swiss Vice President and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, visited Hanoi to strengthen economic ties that are regarded as fruitful with the large presence of Swiss businesses in Vietnam.

Thus far, Swiss investors have poured US$2 billion in 177 projects in Vietnam, ranking the 6th largest investor in the Southeast Asian country.

Vietnam and Switzerland are negotiating a trade deal between the Southeast Asian country and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. 

Switzerland is one of the few countries maintaining official development assistance (ODA) (having totaled US$600 million so far) and economic cooperation with Vietnam over the past three decades.

In support of Vietnam’s pandemic fight, Switzerland has provided medical supplies worth $5 million. 

The visit to Moscow, which will take place on November 29-December 2, tightens the relations that entered the 71st year in 2020 and marks the 20th year of the bilateral strategic partnership.

Since March 2001, Russia has cemented its relationship with Vietnam by upgrading it to a strategic partnership – the first country to build such a partnership with Vietnam.

As strategic partners, both Vietnam and Russia are committed to helping each other in terms of defense and security, as well as in education, health, trade, investment, and overall economic development.

The Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement (EAEU), which took effect in October 2016 lifted trade and economic ties to a new level.

The two sides targeted to reach US$10 billion trade by 2020. So far, Russia is Vietnam’s largest provider of weaponry, equipment, and technology.

Energy remains one of the pillars in the Vietnam-Russia economic ties. For the past years, investment in oil and gas exploration and exploitation has been intensified.

Meanwhile, big Russian oil and gas groups like Gazprom and Rosneft plan to engage in many more projects in Vietnam’s continental shelf by 2030.

Dozens of high-ranking officials accompanying Phuc during the tour include Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, ministers of National Defence, Industry and Trade, Education and Training, Science and Technology, Foreign Affairs, Public Security, Planning and Investment, Justice, Health, Agriculture, Culture-Sport and Tourism, State Bank Governor, and some heads of localities.