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Vladimir Putin arrives in Vietnam for the final stop on his two-nation tour of Asia

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Vietnam early Thursday for talks with the country’s communist leaders on the final stop of his two-nation tour of Asia after inking a defense pact with North Korea.

Putin’s plane landed at Hanoi airport, where he was met on a red carpet by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha and top party diplomat Le Hoai Trung.

In an op-ed timed for his visit, Putin praised the communist-ruled Southeast Asian country for supporting “a pragmatic way to resolve the crisis” in Ukraine.

Vietnam, which officially pursues a neutral foreign policy it calls “bamboo diplomacy” in its dealings with world powers, has refrained from condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a position Western countries say is too close to the Kremlin.

In addition to praising Vietnam for its “balanced” stance on the war in Ukraine, Putin listed progress in payments, energy and trade between the countries in the article published in the Vietnamese Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan.

Although both North Korea and Russia face international isolation, Vietnam has forged careful alliances with the United States and the European Union.

“President Putin’s visit to North Korea and Vietnam is to demonstrate that Western efforts to isolate Russia are not working and that Russia has partners in Asia,” said Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam’s security. the Australian Defense Force Academy in Canberra.

Russia was hit by US-led Western sanctions after invading Ukraine in February 2022 in what Moscow calls a “special military operation”. In March 2023, the Hague-based International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes in Ukraine, charges he denies.

Neither Vietnam nor Russia are members of the ICC.

The Southeast Asian country will be the third country Putin has visited, after China and North Korea, since he was sworn in for a fifth term in May.

Vietnam is gearing up for a full state welcome for Putin, his first visit since 2017 and his fifth in total.

Putin will meet with Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong, State President To Lam and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The Russian leader will also attend wreath-laying ceremonies, including at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which houses the embalmed corpse of Vietnam’s founder. The countries have historically close ties and shared communist roots. Tens of thousands of executives studied in the former Soviet Union during the Cold War, including the current head of the Vietnamese Communist Party Trong.

“President Vladimir Putin is a person who has contributed a lot to Vietnam-Russia relations. He always has good feelings and care for Vietnam and values ​​relations with Vietnam’s senior leaders,” the Ministry’s Quan Doi Nhan Dan newspaper said of Defense. said in an article.

Key partner the United States, which improved diplomatic ties with Hanoi last year and is Vietnam’s main export market, opposed Putin’s visit.

“No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities,” a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Hanoi said this week.

Russia has traditionally been Vietnam’s main military supplier, so any arms transactions will be closely watched.

Putin is also expected to announce deals in sectors such as trade, investment, technology and education, two officials told Reuters this week, although that was subject to change.

Published by:

Akhilesh Nagari

Published on:

June 20, 2024

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