Putin arrives in Vietnam for a state visit

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President Putin arrives at Noi Bai International Airport for his visit to Hanoi, Vietnam. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

President Putin arrived in Vietnam on Thursday for talks with the country’s communist leaders. This is the last stop on his two-nation tour of Asia, after signing a defense pact with North Korea.

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

Putin applauds Vietnam for its stance on the war in Ukraine

Putin praised Vietnam for supporting “a pragmatic way to resolve the crisis” in Ukraine. He says this in an opinion piece. In the article, published in the Communist Party’s Vietnamese newspaper Nhan Dan, Putin also mentioned progress in payments, energy and trade between the countries.

Vietnam officially pursues a neutral foreign policy that it calls “bamboo diplomacy.” The country has refrained from condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine, a position Western countries say is too close to the Kremlin.

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

Putin is trying to consolidate international support

The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March 2023 for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Neither Vietnam nor Russia are members of the ICC.

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The Southeast Asian country will be the third country Putin visits, after China and North Korea, after he was sworn in for a fifth term in May. This is his first visit since 2017 and his fifth in total.

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

The US is against Putin’s visit

The United States, which improved diplomatic ties with Hanoi last year, has opposed Putin’s visit. A spokesperson for the American embassy in Hanoi said this this week.

“No country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression and otherwise allow him to normalize his atrocities.”

Russia has traditionally been Vietnam’s main military supplier. Putin can announce agreements in sectors such as trade, investment, technology and education.

With input from Reuters

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