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Feb 13, 2020 / 10:00

Vietnam defense minister's trip to Russia advances bilateral ties

Defense is one of pillars in the bilateral ties in the context that Hanoi continues to modernize its military while Moscow seeks a stronger defense presence in the broader Asia-Pacific.

The recent visit to Russia by Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich has demonstrated Vietnam's willingness to strengthen the traditional friendship between the two countries and the comprehensive strategic partnership.

Vietnam's Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu in Moscow. Photo: QDND 

Lich’s visit on February 3-9 consisted of a series of interactions, including meetings with top Russian officials, including Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, visits to Russian military units and the Vietnamese embassy in Moscow, and symbolic engagements such as the laying of wreaths at Soviet Nameless Martyrs Memorial in Moscow.

Lich and Shoigu discussed areas of bilateral ties namely exchanges, dialogues, and training, and wider cooperation including collaboration in multilateral fora – with Vietnam holding both a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council and the ASEAN chair in 2020 – as well as specific areas such as terrorism with both sides co-chairing the ADMM-Plus Expert Group on Counterterrorism from 2020 to 2023.

During the visit, the two ministers signed a joint vision statement on defense cooperation for the 2020-2025 period. Local media reported that both countries had agreed to “bolster defense cooperation on the basis of mutual political trust and the signed deals.”

Prashanth Parameswaran, senior editor at The Diplomat, commented that Vietnam and Russia defense ties have seen some advances as Hanoi continues to modernize its military and Moscow seeks a stronger defense presence in the broader Asia-Pacific.

That has continued over the past years as well, whether it be headlines about new Vietnamese orders of Russian equipment or visits that reinforce the continued significance of the relationship for both sides, he emphasized.

Vietnam and Russia have a defense relationship that dates back to the Cold War and the trip spotlighted the ongoing efforts by both countries to advance aspects of their defense ties amid wider domestic and regional developments, he noted.